Best practices for motorists

Since most of us use both cars and bicycles, here are some tips to remember when operating your motor vehicle:

  • Set a good example by demonstrating safe and respectful driving around bicyclists. 

  • Remember that bikes belong, and may legally use as much of the lane as they need for safety. 
  • When passing, give at least three feet of passing space between your vehicle and 
  • the bicyclist.
  • After passing a cyclist on your right, scan over your shoulder before you merge back in. 
  • It’s easy to underestimate a bicyclist’s speed; carefully assess when passing or turning. 
  • When turning left at an intersection, yield to an oncoming cyclist just as you would any other vehicle.
  • When turning right across a bike lane, always scan over your right shoulder and yield to bicyclists before turning. 
  • Before opening a car door on the traffic side, look for passing bicyclists, and open doors slowly.
  • At intersections, stop behind the crosswalk area, then look for approaching pedestrians and cyclists before advancing across the intersection. 
  • At trail crossings, slow and look both ways before proceeding.
  • Remember that bicyclists and pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way.
  • Children on bicycles often act unpredictably: expect the unexpected and drive attentively in residential areas. 
  • Consider the impacts of your speed, especially in residential areas or routes commonly shared with bicyclists. A 20 mph crash with a bicycle or pedestrian has a 5% fatality rate. At 30 mph, the fatality rate jumps to 45%. At 40 mph, the fatality rate is 80%.