What drivers should know about sharing the road with bicyclists (and vice versa)

Ricky Carioti/THE WASHINGTON POST - Bicyclists ride on their final leg down Pennsylvania Ave. towards The Capitol building during Tim Johnson's Ride on Washington on March 20, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
The first automobile accident in U.S. history is said to have been recorded in New York in 1896 when a car collided with a bicycle.
There were fewer bicycles then — the invention was about 25 years old — and a heckuva lot fewer cars, so it’s hard to imagine how the two managed to collide.
But it didn’t end there.
There are now 250 million registered vehicles on U.S. roads. Americans are buying almost 16 million bikes a year. About 700 people a year die in bike accidents, and 45,000 are injured. In the past 80 years, there have been 44,000 cycling fatalities. Between 2006 and 2010, 29 bike riders were killed in the Washington region.
Recreational and competitive cycling have soared in the 21st century, and the number of people commuting by bike is estimated to have increased by 43 percent since 2000.
The number of bikes in big cities — including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and the District — has increased exponentially. They seem to be everywhere, and with them, frustration has grown among many drivers who already feel pinched by the congestion that often creates nightmarish commutes.
The Share the Road campaign has been around for a while, but here’s some frank explanation about how riders and drivers can coexist in peace.
10 things every driver should know about sharing the road with cyclists: