Four years ago, today, I received a phone call from my brother's wife. She calmly explained to me that my brother, an avid cyclist, had been struck by a car and did not survive the event. Of course this was devastating news for our family. Each year since, this day has naturally become one of reflection and perspective. As I was reading the news this past week I came across two incidents in which someone, like me, received a phone call they would have rather not received. I've posted the links to the articles below. So this post is dedicated to safety and remembering what is really important in hopes that maybe one family won't ever have to receive that kind of phone call. The simple theme is to share the road.
For the riders:
Unfortunately, about 50% of cyclist/motorist accidents are the cyclists fault. Here are a few simple rules that will go a long way in helping you stay safe.
1. Ride in the same direction as traffic.
2. Use a helmet.
3. "Take the lane" when you are on a narrow lane where there may not be enough room to pass.
4. Honor other's right of way and don't needlessly block the lane.
5. Allow motorists to pass when there are 3 or more cars lined up behind.
6. Look behind before passing or changing lanes.
7. Use hand signals.
8. Communicate with other cyclists or pedestrians when getting close or passing.
9. Ride predictably, no weaving.
10. Use lights and bright clothing at night and in the morning.
11. Obey traffic laws (stop at lights, stop signs, etc.)
For the motorists:
Unfortunately, about 50% of the motorists/cyclists accidents are the motorists fault. No, this is not a typo all though repetitive. Here are a few simple rules to follow to protect you from liability and keeping you safe.
1. Wait to pass.
2. Give the cyclists at least 3 feet between your vehicle's mirrors and the cyclists handlebars.
3. Don't honk your horn or yell at the cyclist(s) when you are getting ready to pass.
4. Remember roads are built for transportation, not just motorized vehicles. Cyclists have the legal right to be there.
5. Don't attempt to squeeze between the yellow lines and the cyclists when passing (especially when there is on-coming traffic).
6. Slow down when passing.
7. Be alert and look for cyclists when opening car doors and passing.
8. Obey the traffic laws.
9. Understand, cyclists are not trying to prevent you from passing by riding off the line, they are simply trying to stay out of the debris and potholes that are usually found on the right side of the road.
10. Share the road.
Scott Flynn, owner, coach and triathlete of 10+ years with Threshold Multisport Coaching, holds a MS in Exercise Science and multiple nationally recognized fitness certifications (CES, CSCS). For more about Threshold coaching packages click here.