Coexisting with Bicycles when Driving

The City is working to create a transportation network that is safe and welcoming for bicyclists and automobiles.  Our community of drivers, long used to being the primary mode of transportation on our roads, may require some adjustments to coexist with multiple modes of transportation.  Here are ten tips for coexisting with bicycles when driving.  All of the points here are good, but I would highlight points 1, 3, and 8.

1) Appreciate Bicyclist Vulnerability: Cars have gotten safer and safer over the years. A modern car has an incredible number of safety features to protect the passengers in the event of a collision including seat belts, shatterproof glass, front and side air bags, and a collapsing frame to absorb the force of impact. It’s no wonder many of us drive without fear. A bicycle offers no protection to the rider in an accident. Again, it’s hardly surprising that coexisting with automobiles can be stressful for someone on a bicycle. When you share the road with someone riding a bike, follow the Golden Rule. Slow down and give her space.

2) Adjust Attitude: This goes hand-in-hand with Point 1. We're all busy. No one wants to be slowed down. However, someone riding a bicycle has the same claim to the road as someone driving a car. Remember that “bicyclist” in front of you is a person, with people waiting for her to return home.

3) Look Around – But Not at Your Phone: Distracted driving is becoming normative. There never seems to be enough time, so we multitask even in situations that we shouldn’t. While driving, we talk on our phones, text on our phones, put on make-up, eat, and any number of other activities.  A driver can’t avoid a collision if she never sees the bicycle rider. 

All this is to say that when driving, slow down, look around, and be especially careful in the presence of someone riding a bicycle. Stay safe out there!