November 2, 2009
Right of way
It’s a fact: More bikes are on the road. To minimize accidents, drivers need to be aware of them and act safely. Some tips:
Give them space: Recognize that bicycles have a right to the road and may legally take the full lane. Allow at least 3 feet of space while passing.
Respect their speed: Do not underestimate how fast some cyclists are moving. In many circumstances, a bike can travel as fast as a car. Never turn in front of a bicycle, even if you think it’s traveling slowly.
When in doubt, wait: If you can’t allow the bike 3 feet of space, wait to pass until you can — just as you would for any other slow-moving vehicle.
Be patient: Do not honk or yell at bicyclists. You could startle them or cause them to veer.
Be careful when opening your car door: When parked along roadways, look for bicyclists before opening your door, as a cyclist may be hugging the side of the road, right in the line of your car door. Open your car door into a rider’s path and you may cause a serious accident.
Look for bikes: Keep an eye out for cyclists, and always look both ways before exiting a driveway or intersection.
— Christie Aschwanden
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times