Learn The Right Way to Drive Around Bicyclists and Save a Life
A woman from Hamilton was killed riding her bicycle. By all accounts, Becky Eisenhut was a beautiful, vibrant woman - taken away from friends and family when she was struck by an SUV.
Nearly every day, my husband, and many of my dear friends take to the roads on their bikes to enjoy fresh air, get some exercise, and to spend time with fellow cyclists. There's always risk, but there are plenty of things we, as drivers, can do to protect cyclists.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has put together some common sense guidelines for drivers.
- Yield to bicyclists - just like you would to a vehicle - and do not underestimate their speed. The will help you avoid turning in front of a bicyclist in a roadway intersection or a driveway.
- Take extra care in parking lots - look all around to avoid striking something, including a bicyclist.
- When you're making a right on red, look to the right, and not just the left. Look behind you as well. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.
- Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
- Give cyclists room - it's not hard to turn your wheel to give cyclists a wide berth. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.
- In addition, avoid distractions in your vehicle - don't text, look for items in your vehicle, or allow yourself to become distracted. A small swerve when you're near a bicyclist can be deadly.
Mary Lynn Paniccia, a friend of Becky's, says she "was a tremendous person and a very cautious rider. She was all about safety." It's up to bicyclists to take caution on the road as well, but you almost never hear about someone riding a bike, crashing into a car, and killing the driver. Vehicles have a mass and force advantage over a bike. We drivers owe it to riders to be extra careful.