We love our partners at Pablo Clark racing and Sundays Insurance equally. However, on the road, who is right? And who has right of way? Our Ferrari driving mates or our cycling fundies? You be the judge!
Ever been stuck in your car behind a group of cyclists riding six abreast across the entire lane? Or having to brake HARD (or even falling) as a car suddenly turns in front of you?
There’s a mindset among cyclists and motorists that the other should be more careful. In truth there’s room for everyone on our roads. All we need is a bit of awareness and a whole lot of courtesy for each other.
Here are some tips for both cyclists and motorists to help prevent accidents and keep those tempers in check:
- Obey the rules of the road. Skipping a red light or not stopping at stop signs – even if you’ve checked that “nothing is coming” – is a dangerous habit. Yes, it’s sometimes inconvenient to stop. But it’s unsafe and also illegal not to
- Riding in big bunches doesn’t mean you need to take up the whole lane. It’s better to ride in single file, or at most two abreast in order to make passing more possible
- Hold your line in the road. If you’re swerving all over the place, it’s difficult for a motorist to predict what you’re going to do next.
- If you are planning to turn across a cyclist’s line, rather slow down to let them pass than speed up to cut in front of them. Remember, it’s a lot easier and safer for you to slow down than it is for the cyclist.
- Passing too close at high speed is not only startling for the cyclist, but also extremely dangerous. If the cyclist makes a last second change in line, the result can be disastrous. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
- Hold your line through a corner rather than cutting the apex. This is extremely dangerous and terrifying for the cyclist, whose riding space slowly starts disappearing as the car cuts closer. The cyclist is then forced towards the pavement and in the worst case runs out of space and has to try and hop the kerb. This frequently happens with buses or longer vehicles, as the longer the vehicle, the harder it is to clear the corner.
- Pay attention to the road. Distractions such as texting or talking on the phone while driving can be fatal. Experienced cyclists ride defensively and will try to make eye contact with other motorists to anticipate their intention. When a motorist’s attention is diverted away from the road and other road users, this is impossible.
- “Creeping” at a stop street as a cyclist approaches causes confusion and often forces a cyclist to ride further towards the middle of the road. It’s best to remains stationary behind the line until the cyclist passes, or to go if it’s safe to do so.
- Remember, most motor vehicles weigh at least 1 000 kg and act as a nice, thick barrier between the motorist and the potential collision object – in this case, the cyclist. Cyclists have only a bit of lycra and a helmet. Please be cognisant of this disadvantage at all times. Even if the cyclist is acting in an inconsiderate or dangerous way, try to be “the bigger person”. Because at the end of the day, if a cyclist gets injured and your car gets damaged, “who was right and who was wrong” isn’t going to fix anything.