As schools close for summer, excited kids are taking to the streets in increasing numbers, many riding bikes to their friends’ houses and favorite summer hangouts.
Whereas it is reasonable to expect experienced cyclists to adhere to the rules and expectations that apply to them while on the road, children and recreational bicyclists may not be as road savvy. It is the parents’ and children’s responsibility to educate themselves and take proper safety precautions, but drivers too should take some extra care during the summer months as more bicyclists are out for recreation, exercise, and even commuting during the warm months.
Top driver mistakes, as they relate to bicycle safety, include:
Turning in front of an oncoming bicycle
Failing to check all surroundings for cyclists before moving
Failure to look behind before opening car door
Passing a bicycle too closely
Underestimating bicycle speed (bicycles can easy get to 15-20 miles per hour and faster)
Additionally, drivers need to look out for common cyclist mistakes, particularly when thinking of little ones. Children are less experienced cyclists and thus are more likely to lose control of their bicycles, fall, or neglect some of the common safety practices (like looking both ways before entering a roadway). If you know you are traveling in a neighborhood or downtown area with a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, allow extra distance, plenty of slowing/stopping time before intersections and crosswalks, and give cyclists a wide berth.
Learn more about common vehicle-bike collisions here.