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National Bike Month: The Importance of Coexisting With Bicyclists

The month of May is National Bike Month! This month is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and is celebrated all over the country. Spiros Law is using this month as an opportunity to educate drivers on how to properly share the road with bicyclists, as it is extremely important for the safety of everyone on the road. According to the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hundreds of bicyclists die in traffic accidents involving motor vehicles every year, and thousands more are injured every year. There are many precautions that drivers can take in order to effectively coexist with bicyclists on the road. Listed below are 5 important rules to follow when driving near bicyclists.

Look for them.

  • When drivers hit bicyclists, the most common excuse is that they did not see them. This is most likely because drivers are only expecting other cars on the road, but we must start looking for everyone that could be using the road. Always check your blind spots and look for bicyclists around your vehicle.

Give cyclists three feet of clearance.

  • Bike riders really appreciate when drivers give them space, and it also helps drivers by giving them a concrete frame of reference. In fact, in Illinois, it is a law that drivers must leave at least three feet of space between their vehicle and the bicyclist.

Yield while turning.

  • Intersections are danger zones for car-cycle collisions. Whether you are making a right or left turn, always look out for bicyclists coming up behind or in front of you. Sometimes drivers believe they have plenty of time to make a turn, however that is not always the case. If you are in doubt on whether or not you can complete a turn in time, always choose to yield.

Look before you exit your car.

  • A common fear among cyclists is being “doored”. This occurs when drivers open the door to exit their vehicles without looking for cyclists, thus not giving the cyclist ample time to stop, causing them to collide into the car door. The impact can send cyclists flying, and riders have died from being thrown into traffic as a result of the impact. It is imperative that drivers check all their mirrors to make sure no bikes are coming before they exit their vehicles.

Know bicyclists’ rights. 

  • Often times, drivers have no idea of the traffic laws that exist for bicyclists. According to the NHTSA, cyclists that are 10 years and older are to behave as if they were vehicles on the road. That means that cyclists are on the same level as motorists, and we must treat them that way when driving.

With more and more individuals using bicycles on our roadways to exercise or reduce commuting costs, it is imperative that we know how to properly share the road with them. By educating yourself, paying attention, and using caution, you can avoid possibly fatal collisions with bicyclists.

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury as the result of a bicycle accident, you don’t have to suffer alone.  The compassionate bicycle accident attorneys at Spiros Law P.C. understand the pain and suffering you are going through and will fight on your behalf against individuals who endanger our roads. Contact us at (815) 929-9292 to speak about your unique situation today.