Five Practical Tips For Driving Safely Around Cyclists

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of cyclists on the road has increased by 300%. Here’s five practical tips for driving safely around them…

Use the ‘Dutch Reach’

Approximately 500 cyclists are injured in the UK each year as a result of drivers opening car doors in their pathways. Simply by using the so-called ‘Dutch Reach’ technique, motorists can prevent this from happening. It simply involves looking over one’s shoulder before exiting a vehicle, using the arm furthest from the door; making sure cyclists, or any other road-users, aren’t at risk.

Mirror Checks and Blind Spots 

Good drivers are constantly making mirror checks; especially before making a manoeuvre. Cyclists are especially easy to miss in blind spots, at junctions and on roundabouts. So it’s even more important to be mindful of their presence. Keep your eyes open, especially when driving in urban areas.

It’s All About Space

Good drivers give cyclists plenty of space. Why? Because one is sat comfortably in a chunk of fast-moving metal and the other is on, well, a bike. Keeping a distance of around 1.5 metres tends to be the gold standard. It’s even more important to do so during strong winds or wet weather. It’s also important not to become impatient and attempt to overtake a cyclist prematurely; as you could easily end up colliding or cutting them off.

Indicate Properly 

When you’re driving, it’s important to let other drivers know what your intentions are. The same principle applies to cyclists (or any other road-user). Make sure to indicate in plenty of time and to judge your manoeuvres properly. If in doubt, it never hurts to reduce your speed and to slow down.

Recognise the Signs 

Many cyclists will use arm and hand gestures to communicate their intentions. It makes sense to get used to these, familiarising yourself with what they mean. But remember, it might not always be possible for them to rely on these. Little clues, like looking over their shoulder may indicate that they intend to turn or pull out.

Have a bit of Empathy 

There are all sorts of studies that have investigated the anger many motorists feel towards cyclists. One even suggested that motorists regard them as ‘sub-human cockroaches’. It’s important to remember that cyclists have every right to be on the roads and, just like you, are trying to get on with their journeys and their lives. They’re also a lot more vulnerable to abuse and danger than drivers are. So be patient and considerate – after all, they’re technically reducing congestion for you.

Ultimately, it may be eye-opening to cycle a couple of times for yourself – you’ll soon realise what many cyclists face on a daily basis. For those in busy towns and cities, it can be a tough way of getting around.

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The Autoserve Club can save you time, money and stress. Club Members can receive discounts on servicing and new tyres and will gain access to our professional 24/7 helpline. To learn more, contact our friendly Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 today.

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