With the theme of this year’s Road Safety Week being Bike Smart, it is important for drivers to be aware of how to drive safely around both motorcyclists and cyclists. To ensure that everyone is safe on the roads, we have compiled a list of six ways you can help to keep cyclists safe on the road.
- Approaching traffic lights: If you are behind a cyclist when approaching a red or amber traffic light, make sure that you give the cyclist plenty of time to pull away when the light changes to green. Although some traffic lights have a designated area for cyclists, not all sets of lights have this. Even if the lights don’t have a designated area for cyclists, make sure that you don’t get too close to them.
- Minimise distractions: Concentration behind the wheel is crucial for the safety of all road users. It is especially important for vulnerable users such as cyclists. Looking at your mobile phone, eating or loud music can all contribute to a driver losing focus. Factors such as fatigue can also have an impact on concentration so ensure that long journeys are broken up with regular breaks.
- Don’t adopt a risky driving style: Unpredictable drivers can make cyclists feel unsafe on the road and make it more difficult for them to keep themselves safe. Although it can be frustrating to be stuck behind a cyclist, make sure that you wait for a safe opportunity. If there is an oncoming car or a blind turn coming up, wait until a more appropriate time to overtake. When it is safe to pass the cyclist, keep your speed low and leave them plenty of space as you drive past.
- Misjudging cyclists’ speeds: Cyclists can reach higher speeds than many car drivers expect. Misjudging the speed of a cyclist can cause a crash as the gap between the car and cyclist may not be as large as expected. This is particularly important when making a right turn which involves cutting across oncoming traffic. If a cyclist is approaching faster than expected, you may not have time to cut across the road.
- Plan ahead: Consider your route before overtaking a cyclist. It can be dangerous to speed up to overtake a cyclist and then have to immediately slow down to turn off onto another road. If your journey is about to take you onto a new road, it is safer to stay behind the cyclist.
- Remain observant: Cyclists can be easy to miss as they are often obscured by larger vehicles. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to your surroundings and drive at a suitable speed to ensure that you have enough time to stop if a cyclist emerges unexpectedly.
Following these tips can help to reduce the number of cyclists killed or injured on the roads. More tips for driving safely around cyclists can be found on our blog.
Rebecca Taylor works in Kwik Fit’s digital team.