Counseling You Through Life's Difficult Times

Cyclists and motorists need to share the road

As temperatures gets warmer in Maryland, more people are out and about on their bikes. Whether they are commuting, going out for a Saturday afternoon ride or training for an upcoming race, cyclists present a risk on the road because motorists do not always know how to share the road with bicycles. There are things both drivers of vehicles and cyclists can do to minimize accidents.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities make up 23% of traffic-related fatal accidents in the area, and that thousands of bicyclists retain injuries from crashes on a yearly basis. Because of the size of bicycles, motorists should be overly cautious when riding in their presence. They should look carefully for bikes before backing up or turning at intersections. They should also look before opening their doors and allow for extra room when passing cyclists.

You may notice that some cyclists disregard traffic laws such as stopping at stoplights. However, the American Safety Council reminds everyone that bike riders must follow the same laws as motorists do. If there is a specific bike lane, bikers must use this. If there is not one, cyclists must ride at least 20 miles per hour and stay towards the right of the road. Just as motorists must use their blinkers to indicate the direction they are turning, cyclists must use hand signals for turning and slowing down.

To help other drivers on the road, cyclists should drive defensively and stay alert. When riding at dusk or at night, bicyclists should place a light on the bike and wear reflective clothing.