Motorists and bicyclists share an uneasy existence. Motorists are often frustrated when they approach a cyclist and are forced to slow down.
Cyclists are often tense and nervous when approached by an automobile. A lack of instruction and poor habits often culminate in unsafe situations.
The Williams Lake Commuter Challenge Committee has been posting some tips recently and will continue to do so over the next month on “how not to get hit” in the hopes cyclists (and drivers) will feel more comfortable.
Here are collision tips 3 and 4 in our collision series to show you real ways you can get hit and real ways to avoid being hit.
Collision tip number 3: The crosswalk slam
You’re riding on the sidewalk and cross the street at a crosswalk, and a car makes a right turn, right into you. Drivers aren’t expecting bikes in the crosswalk, and it’s hard for them to see you because of the nature of turning from one street to another, so it’s very easy for you to get hit this way.
How to avoid this collision:
Don’t ride on the sidewalk in the first place. Crossing between sidewalks is a fairly dangerous maneuver.
If you do it on the left-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed by someone turning into your street. If you do it on the right-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed by a car behind you that’s turning right.
Sidewalk riding also makes you vulnerable to cars pulling out of parking lots or driveways. And you’re threatening to pedestrians on the sidewalk, who could get hurt if you hit them. In addition, riding on the sidewalk is illegal in B.C.
number 4: The wrong-way wreck
You’re riding the wrong way (against traffic, on the left-hand side of the street). A car makes a right turn from a side street, driveway, or parking lot, right into you. They didn’t see you because they were looking for traffic only on their left, not on their right. They had no reason to expect that someone would be coming at them from the wrong direction.
How to avoid this collision:
Don’t ride against traffic. Ride with traffic, in the same direction.
Riding against traffic may seem like a good idea because you can see the cars that are passing you, but it’s not. Here’s why:
1. Cars which pull out of driveways, parking lots, and cross streets (ahead of you and to the left), which are making a right onto your street, aren’t expecting traffic to be coming at them from the wrong way. They won’t see you, and they’ll plow right into you.
2. How the heck are you going to make a right turn?
3. Cars will approach you at a much higher relative speed. Since they’re approaching you faster, both you and the driver have lots less time to react. And if a collision does occur, it’s going to be ten times worse.
4. Riding the wrong way is illegal and you can get ticketed for it.
Article submitted by Beverley J. Anderson on behalf of the Williams Lake Commuter Challenge Committee. For more information on this and the Commuter Challenge, please visit www.breatheaasywilliamslake.org.