Sharing the Road with Bicyclists & Pedestrians
- Scan the street for wheels and feet: Be especially careful to look for people walking and biking before turning at intersections and driveways.
- Yield to pedestrians: Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections – it’s the law. Crosswalks exist at all intersections, even when unmarked. Always look for pedestrians especially before turning at a light. Stay alert and slow down, particularly in residential areas, school zones and commercial areas. Children, particularly, have not yet developed the cognitive skills to calculate speed and distance.
- Double threat: Never pass another vehicle that has stopped or is slowing down for a pedestrian. Remember, you might not be able to see the pedestrian when you approach a stopped vehicle so be aware.
- Watch for bicycles: People riding bicycles have the right to be on the road (and are often prohibited from riding on sidewalks), so respect their right to be there. Children on bikes can be unpredictable, slow down and use extra caution. Don’t expect children to know traffic laws. Because of their size they can be harder to see. Reduce your speed when encountering and don’t tailgate, especially in bad weather.
- Passing safely: Stay at least 4 feet away from bicyclists (and other vulnerable road users, such as garbage collectors, police officers, and tow truck operators) when passing, and don’t return to the right until well clear of the person. If there isn’t enough room to safely pass in the same lane, you must use another lane or wait for a safe opportunity to pass. Do not pass a person on a bike and then immediately turn right.
- Avoid the “right hook”: Look for and yield to people biking on the right when turning right.
- Avoid the “left cross”: Look for and yield to people walking across the street and yield to oncoming people on bikes when turning left.
- Visibility: Look for bicyclists at night and watch for their reflectors or lights.
- Check blind spots: Watch for bicyclists coming from behind, especially before turning right.
- Doors are dangerous: Before opening your car door, look in your side mirror and physically turn your body to make sure no bicyclists are coming. Learn more here: http://www.dutchreach.org/dutch-reach-practice-tips-door-latch-reminders
Source: Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death. Brian Tefft, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2011