Hundreds of cyclists are killed in traffic accidents each year in the US and thousands more are injured. Whether you are a cyclist or not, perhaps you want to do everything you can to prevent these tragedies on Kentucky roads. Bicycling in our state is flourishing, and a little extra caution on all sides may be all that is needed to reduce these incidents and the devastating brain injuries, spine injuries, fractures and fatal injuries that they can cause.
Here are a few signs that you're doing your part to share the road when you're behind the wheel:
- You pass cyclists courteously, allowing at least 3 feet between you and the cyclist as you overtake them. To allow this space, you should wait until there is no oncoming traffic, whenever possible.
- You are prepared for the presence of cyclists on the road. Bicycles are narrow and can be tricky to see and recognize at times. But as a bicycle-friendly driver, you yield the right of way to bicyclists when instructed to do so by signs and signals. You also check for bicycles behind you or coming toward you when making a turn at a light, stop sign or other intersection.
- You use caution in parallel parking spaces, checking for approaching cyclists before swinging your door open or pulling forward out of the spot.
- You never honk your horn when approaching a cyclist, knowing that doing so could alarm the cyclist. A startled cyclist may suddenly swerve into traffic and cause an accident.
- You know that, like motorists, cyclists sometimes make unexpected maneuvers. For reasons you can't anticipate, a cyclist may shift into the center of your lane or quickly change multiple lanes to reach the center lane. As a defensive driver, you stay un-distracted and focus on the road in order to better deal with unanticipated circumstances.
With bike-friendly lifestyle features like the Big Four Bridge and Bike To Work Day, Louisville in particular is working to create a city in which bicycling will flourish. We can all do our part to prevent bike-vs-auto crashes by practicing the safe driving habits outlined above.