When it comes to city transportation, biking is a cheap and efficient way to get around. D.C. and other cities have been engaging in concerted efforts – such as adding bike lanes – to make commutes easier for cyclists. However, the relationship between bikers and motorists remains precarious at best and hostile at worst.
In the war between the two modes of transportation, neither side is without fault. So what’s a commuter to do? When drivers and bikers alike incorporate a few safety measures, it helps save lives and sanity.
How Bikers Can Keep Safe (and Avoid Infuriating Drivers)
While commuting, cyclists must remember they fall under the same rules as motorists. This may mean making changes to their cycling ethos, including:
• Stopping at red lights. Unless bike commuters dismount and proceed through crosswalks in the same direction as pedestrian traffic, they must stop at red lights along with motor traffic.
• Using hand signals. Bikers should learn and use hand signals to indicate when they are preparing to turn or brake.
• Not impeding traffic. Vehicles (such as bicycles) traveling slowly should make every effort not to obstruct the normal flow of traffic. Staying in a bike lane, if available, is the best way to accomplish this.
How Drivers Can Be More Considerate
To play their part in the reconciliation between drivers and bikers, motorists may incorporate behaviors such as:
• Paying closer attention. Before backing out of driveways or making turns, check for cyclists as well as pedestrians.
• Avoiding aggressive behavior. Most drivers wouldn’t bump or crowd another motor vehicle, and doing so to a cyclist is even more dangerous.
• Respecting the bike lane. When a city has dedicated one or more lanes to bike traffic, don’t use them to pass other drivers. Leave these lanes to their rightful owners.
Although a few outliers will likely always exist, when the majority of bikers and drivers do the right thing, the result is a safer and more efficient roadway.
Injured in a car-bike accident? Contact a Washington D.C. automobile accident attorney to discuss your case.