Sharing the road

Tips for Sharing the Road with People in Motor Vehicles

From bike.lacity.org

 

  1. Obey all traffic regulations
    Riding predictably and following the law are the keys to safe bicycling on Los Angeles streets.
    Knowing and following the rules helps all road users properly anticipate and react to each other.
  2. Never ride against traffic
    Riding against traffic is DANGEROUS and illegal. ALWAYS ride in the same direction as motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic. People driving and walking are not looking for people on bicycles riding the wrong way down a street.
  3. Avoid riding on the sidewalk
    People walking have the right of way on walkways. If you must ride on sidewalks, please do so at a walking pace. Slow down and look very carefully for traffic at driveways or intersections.
  4. Ride in a straight line
    Avoid weaving between parked cars. Ride in a straight line at least 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid opening car doors.
  5. When necessary, use the entire lane
    Move toward the center, if the lane is too narrow for people driving to pass safely or when you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
  6. There are 2 ways to safely turn left
    Use the left turn lane or ride across the intersection, cross the street walking next to your bike, and align yourself with traffic.
  7. Beware of Right Hook
    If you are turning right, wait in the designated right turn lane. Move to the left of a right turning vehicle or bus. Watch for people driving rushing into the intersection and turn right in front of you.
  8. Avoid the “Door Zone”
    Ride 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid the “door zone.” Look for drivers inside of parked cars who might open the car’s door and pass safely.
  9. Use bicycle lanes, when available
    When riding in a bike lane, ride to the left side of the lane, at least 3 to 4 feet from parked cars.
  10. Be aware
    Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear headphones in both ears (it’s illegal and dangerous). Remember to signal and make eye contact with other people using the road.

 

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Sharing the Road – Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Motorists

From DMV.ca.gov

 

Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Some bicycle related crashes are connected to the bicyclist’s behavior, while others are due to the motorist’s lack of attention.

  • Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Refer to the California Driver Handbook to become familiar with these rules.
  • Motorists must look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes, and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.

 

Four Basic Safety Tips

Here are four basic bicycling tips:

  • Maintain control of your bicycle.
  • Protect yourself–reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet.
  • Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions.
  • Ride with traffic.

 

Maintain Control of Your Bicycle

There are many things you can do to control your bicycle, even in an emergency. First, ensure your bicycle is the right size and properly adjusted to fit you. A properly fitted bicycle is easier to control, more comfortable, and causes less fatigue. A bicycle shop can help you choose the correct size bicycle. Ensure your bicycle is in good working order by inspecting it regularly.

The California Vehicle Code (CVC) contains specific laws pertaining to bicycle riders. For example, it is unlawful to operate a bicycle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug (CVC §21200.5).

Convictions are punishable by a fine of up to $250. If you are under 21, but over 13 years of age, your driving privilege will be suspended or delayed for one year once you are eligible to drive.

Protect Yourself

Even a simple fall can cause a life threatening head injury. The brain is fragile and often does not heal the way that broken bones can. The damage can stay with you for life. Properly fitted helmets provide protection. By law, bicycle riders under 18 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet while riding on a public road (CVC §21212).

Be Visible and Alert

Even if you obey all traffic laws, there is always a risk of being hit by a motorist who is not obeying the laws, or who simply does not see you. Ride carefully–vehicles waiting at stop signs, in driveways, or parking spaces may suddenly pull out in front of you. Watch for vehicles that have just passed you and may turn right, as well as vehicles coming the opposite way that may turn left in front of you. Be prepared to stop or take evasive action.

Use hand signals before making turns or changing lanes to warn traffic around you. To signal a left turn, look behind you, over your left shoulder, and then extend your left arm out. To signal a right turn, hold your left arm up with your elbow bent (you may also hold your right arm straight and point to the right). You do not have to keep your arm extended while completing the maneuver always have at least one hand on the handlebars to maintain control. To signal that you are slowing or stopping, extend your left arm down.

Using lights and reflectors at night is the law (CVC §21201). During darkness, bicyclists must have the following equipment:

  • A front lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet.
  • A rear red reflector visible from a distance of 500 feet.
  • A white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles visible from a distance of 200 feet.
  • A brake which will enable the operator to make a one brake wheel stop on dry, level, clean pavement.

Increase your visibility by wearing light or bright colored clothes, such as yellow or lime green. Red appears black in fading light and is not a good choice for riding in the evening. Mirrors provide opportunities for increased awareness of your surroundings, but use mirrors only as an aid. Always look over your shoulder to make sure the lane is clear before turning or changing lanes. Make sure your brakes are in good working order.

Ride With Traffic

Ride in the same direction as traffic. This will make you more visible to drivers entering roads or changing lanes, because they will know where to look for possible conflicts. On a one-way street, you may ride on the left as long as you are riding with traffic.

How Far to the Right?

Ride on the right, but not so far that you might hit the curb. You could lose your balance and fall into traffic. Do not ride too far to the right:

  • When avoiding parked vehicles or road hazards.
  • When a traffic lane is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side.
  • When making a left turn so that vehicles going straight do not collide into you.
  • To avoid conflicts with right–turning vehicles.

 

Hazards

Keep your eyes on the road ahead. Avoid running over potholes, gravel, broken glass, drainage grates, puddles you can’t see through, or other unsafe road conditions. Look over your shoulder to avoid swerving suddenly into traffic. When possible, signal before changing lanes.

Parked Vehicles

Bicyclists should ride far enough away from parked vehicles to avoid being hit by an opening door.

When to Take the Traffic Lane

A bicycle lane is a designated traffic lane for bicyclists, marked by a solid white line, and typically breaking into a dotted line at the corner. A bicycle lane is different from a simple white line showing the edge of the road because it follows specific width requirements and is clearly marked as a bike lane. Many roads do not have designated bicycle traffic lanes, so bicyclists share the traffic lane to the left of the white line. If there is no shoulder or bicycle lane and the traffic lane is narrow, ride closer to the center of the lane. This will prevent motorists from passing you when there is not enough room. Bicyclists can travel at speeds of 20 mph, or faster. You should also use the traffic lane when you are traveling at the same speed as the traffic around you. This will keep you out of motorists’ blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic.

Motorists Passing Bicyclists

Be patient when passing a bicyclist. Slow down and pass only when it is safe. Do not squeeze the bicyclist off the road. If road conditions and space permit, allow clearance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist.

Obey Traffic Signs and Signals

Bicyclists must obey STOP signs and red signal lights. It’s a good idea to stop for yellow lights too–rushing through a yellow light may not leave you enough time to make it across the intersection before the light changes.

Left Turns

There are two proper methods for making a left turn on a bicycle:

1. Using Traffic Lanes

As you approach the intersection, look over your left shoulder for traffic. If clear, signal your turn and move over to the left side of the lane, or into the left or center turn lane. Position yourself so that vehicles going straight cannot pass you on your left while making your left-hand turn. Yield to oncoming traffic before turning. If you are riding in a bicycle lane or on a multi-lane road, you need to look and signal each time you change lanes. Never make a left turn from the right side of the road, even if you’re in a bicycle lane.

2. Using Crosswalks

Approach the intersection staying on the right. Stop and either cross as a pedestrian in the crosswalk, or make a 90 degree left turn and proceed as if you were coming from the right. If there is a signal light, wait for the green light or the WALK signal before crossing. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

California Driver Handbook – Sharing the Road

Bicycles

Bicyclists are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles. Many people choose to travel by bicycle because it can alleviate traffic and reduce air pollution. Bicyclists are also required to obey traffic laws just like motorists. Bicyclist responsibilities include:

  • Obeying all traffic signs and traffic signal lights.
  • Riding in the same direction as traffic.
  • Signaling when changing lanes or turning.
  • Yielding to pedestrians.
  • Wearing a helmet (if under 18 years old).

Turns for bicyclists
Diagram showing how cyclists should enter and exit an intersection.
Intersections with special lanes
Diagram of an intersection with special bicycle lanes.

 

  • Allowing faster traffic to pass when safe.
  • Wearing the appropriate, reflective attire when it is dark.
  • Staying visible (e.g. never weave between parked vehicles).
  • Riding single file when riding with a group of bicyclists.
  • Riding as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as possible—not on the sidewalk.
  • Making left and right turns in the same way drivers do, using the same turn lanes. If the bicyclist is traveling straight ahead, he or she should use a through traffic lane rather than ride next to the curb and block traffic making right turns.
  • Carrying ID.

Bicyclists shall not operate a bicycle on a roadway unless the bicycle is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make a one-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

During darkness, bicyclists should avoid wearing dark clothing and must have the following equipment:

  • A front lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet.
  • A rear red reflector or a solid or flashing red light with a built in reflector that is visible from a distance of 500 feet.
  • A white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles visible from a distance of 200 feet.

Bicyclists have the right to operate on the road and may:

  • Lawfully be permitted to ride on certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route.
  • Move left to pass a parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, animal, or avoid debris or other hazards.
  • Choose to ride near the left curb or edge of a one-way street.

 

Bicycles In Travel Lanes

When passing a bicyclist in the travel lane, you should allow at least 3 feet between your vehicle and the bicyclist, unless doing so would cause a hazard. In these cases, slow down and pass the bicyclist when it is safe to do so.

 

Right                                  Wrong
Vehicle properly passing a bicyclist.                  Vehicle improperly passing a bicyclist.

Bicyclists may occupy the center of the lane when conditions such as a narrow lane or road hazard make it unsafe to ride in a position that may provide room for a vehicle to pass. With any slow-moving vehicle or bicycle, drivers should follow at a safe distance. When it is safe, the bicyclists should move to a position that allows vehicles to pass. Remember, bicyclists are entitled to share the road with other drivers.

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicle and motorcycle drivers.

 

Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with other drivers. Bicycles may be travelling faster than you think. Do not turn in front of a bicyclist unless there is enough time to safely make the turn. Here are some critical points for drivers and bicyclists to remember. Motor vehicle drivers must:

  • Always look carefully for bicyclists before opening doors next to moving traffic or before turning.
  • Allow bicyclists enough room to avoid colliding with vehicle doors that are opened into traffic.
  • Merge toward the curb or into the bike lane only when it is safe.
  • Not try to pass a bicyclist just before making a turn. Merge safely where it is allowed, then turn.
  • Not drive in a bike lane unless initiating a turn at an intersection or driveway, and not more than 200 feet in advance.
  • Make a visual check for bicyclists when changing lanes or entering traffic. Bicycles are small and may be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot.
  • Be careful when approaching or passing a bicyclist on a two-lane highway or freeway.

 

Read more here.