What can we all do to help cyclists feel safer?
We live in a time where there are more cars on the road than ever before and for the casual bike rider (on an ebike or regular pushy), riding on the road can sometimes be a little scary. So here’s a few things we can all think about and start doing to make riding for everyone that bit safer.
Cyclists VS Cars
There is often some animosity between those who only drive cars and those who only ride bikes, however the truth of it is that there is a huge number of people who do both and understand both sides of the story.
In Australia, there have been several campaigns to try and help raise the awareness of car drivers that bike riders are regular peole – someone’s parent, brother or sister, son or daughter. The Amy Gillett Foundation has also done an incredible job of lobbying Governments on ‘A Metre Matters’ and, at the end of the day - if both cyclists and car drivers think a little more compassionately about the other human beings around them, rather than who is in the right or wrong, more people will ride and traffic can be less of a problem!
How to help riders feel safer
Check your mirrors before opening the door!
I’ve read that in the Netherlands drivers are taught to open their car door with their left hand – so they are effectively checking over their shoulders before pushing the door open. Regular checking when on the road is important too – bike riders are vehicles too!
Slow traffic in the road is annoying. We totally get that. Whether it’s a leisurely e-bike rider, a team of lycra clad cyclists or a tractor - everyone gets frustrated and impatient. Try to remember the big metal box you are sitting in has an engine so even if you are behind someone on a bike in a narrow lane for a minute or two, you’ll make up the lost time once you get past them. :)
One of the scariest things about riding on the roads nowadays is seeing a driver with their head tilted down towards their lap, and their face lit up by the glow of a mobile phone screen. Please pay attention when driving so riders can be sure that you’re not going to miss a hand signal, miss where we are positioned, or even swerve into us. Driving a car might feel like second nature, but it’s important to remember to keep our eyes on the road!
Whilst there are many things car drivers can do to help bike riders feel safer when out on the roads, one of the most important is to remember to leave a metre between a bike and the car when passing! Australia's Bicycle Network has put together a great list of tips for managing risk and behaviour on the road - take a look to find out more.
If we all remember that bikes are here to share the roads for good – it will help all riders to feel safer.