Most cyclists also drive cars. Many motorists also ride bikes. We all want to get where we’re going, safely. Here’s a quick video that addresses some ways drivers and cyclists can ride and drive safely. Thanks for watching! – Megan Hottman
Bicycle Colorado has important advice for what to do if you or a loved one is in a crash while riding their bike.
Cyclists, Let’s Share the Road Better
By Steve Roe
On a recent club ride, we had about 12 people in the group riding on a narrow road along the Platte River. At one point a car passed us even though it was difficult to get everyone to move over. At another point a woman in an oncoming car had to hit her breaks because when she came around a curve there were one or more cyclists in her lane. She honked, but everyone kept riding the same way, 2 to 4 abreast. I mentioned to a friend that I wished riders would stay on the right side of the road especially when coming into a blind corner. When we made our left-hand turn onto Foxton Road, a Jeffco Sheriff’s truck hit his siren a few times, passed, then pulled over in front of us. He jumped out to address the entire group.
He spoke in an angry tone. He explained that cyclists must follow traffic rules the same as cars, except that we could legally run stop signs if we slow down and verify the intersection is clear and can proceed through a red light if we stop first and it’s safe to proceed. His reason for stopping was we were not all staying on our side of the road, and because there was no painted line, we had to stay to the right of the center of the road. Of course, most but not all of us were riding in the right lane. At one point the Sherrif said “this is why drivers hate you, because you act like you own the road.” He also said he’d ticket every one of us if he saw this happen again.
If we cyclists expect motorists to respect us and our rights on the road, we need to earn their respect by being responsible and courteous. Below are some other examples of bad behavior cyclists are notorious for.
Blowing Through Intersections
We all like to keep our momentum and clear intersections as quickly as possible but running red lights is illegal and especially irresponsible when there are other vehicles or pedestrians in the intersection. Comply with the Colorado Safety Stop legislation:
Stopping in Traffic Lanes
A common practice I’ve observed on group rides is stopping and standing in a lane of traffic often making it difficult for cars to pass through. This is annoying and perceived as arrogant to drivers. Before stopping, find a safe place out of the flow of traffic where the group can assimilate.
Tailgating or Passing Motor Vehicles
Yes, there are times when it is possible for a bike to go faster than the cars or trucks in front of them. This is not a reason to follow the vehicle closely, which is dangerous and annoying to the driver. It is not recommended or legal to pass the vehicle on the right. It is not legal to cross a double yellow line to pass a vehicle on the left. Is it recommended that you don’t pass the vehicle at all unless the driver lets you know its OK.
Cyclists should handle a roundabout in the same way they would in a car. If there is a car in the intersection, you need to yield even if you can squeeze in ahead or beside the car. If you are making a left turn, it’s not ok to shortcut by turning left into the roundabout making the shortest path. It only takes a few seconds longer to go right through the roundabout to get to the exit you want.
Not Communicating when Passing and Passing on the Right
We all know we’re supposed to let other cyclists, pedestrians or other road users know when we are about to pass by announcing “on your left,” ringing a bell, or other means. Sometimes we forget! Passing should be done on the left, but if circumstances require you to pass on the right, mask sure the person your passing knows you are there by announcing “on your right.”
Slowing Down Traffic
Cyclists have a right to ride in the same lane as motor vehicles. In some cases its better to ride in the center or left part of the lane so motorists can see you. However, when cars want to pass, cyclists should ride single file on the right side of the lane. On narrow lanes without shoulders there may not be enough room for vehicles to safely pass cyclists with the required three-foot clearance. If so, and especially if multiple cars are being held up, cyclists should consider pulling off to the right long enough for vehicles to pass rather than frustrate the drivers.
Not Considering Riders Behind You
If you are riding with others, you have a responsibility for their safety as well as your own. Use hand signs to point out road hazards and your intent to stop or slow down. If you enter an intersection that you can safely clear, consider whether the others behind you can also clear the intersection before you go. And if you are following, don’t feel you need to run a red light or enter a roundabout unsafely to stay with your pack. If they won’t wait to regroup after the intersection, you probably don’t want to be riding with them anyway.