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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Motorist Rules for a Bicycle-Friendly Community

What can the motorist do to avoid car/bike crashes?
Some recommendations:

1. Be aware that when a traffic lane is too narrow for cars and bikes to ride side by side, bicyclists should "take the lane", which means riding in or near the center of the lane.
2. Maintain a safety zone of approximately three feet between the car and the bicyclist. Consider the car`s right outside mirror when maintaining this safety zone.
3. Pass a bicyclist only when it can be done safely. Do not blast your horn when passing a bicyclist - this could startle the bicyclist and cause a crash.
4. A motorist may cross a double yellow line to pass a bicycle (or other slower vehicle) as long as the faster vehicle is capable of passing without exceeding the speed limit and as long as there is sufficient clear space in which to do so.
5. Leave ample room when merging or turning right after passing a bicyclist so the bicyclist is not cut off when the motorist merges or slows for the turn. A strong bicyclist may ride 25 mph, and downhill, bicyclists may go much faster.
6. In inclement weather, give bicyclists extra trailing and passing room, just as you would other motorists.
7. Be aware that when a bicyclist must make an emergency stop, that they may be unable to signal their stop because they may need to use both hands to brake.
8. Learn to recognize situations and obstacles that may be hazardous to bicyclists, such as railroad tracks, potholes, debris, and drain grates - then give them adequate space to maneuver.
9. When parked at the side of the road, check your rearview mirror before opening your car door to make sure there are no bicyclists or other traffic approaching. Suddenly opening car doors is a major cause of bicycle accidents.
10. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable in their actions. Expect the unexpected.

Sources: Ohio Revised Code, League of American Bicyclists

Editor's Note: Thanks Tricia for sending this over.

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