Cars and Bikes Can Mix, When the Rules of the Road Are Clear

Published: June 5, 2007

A journalist who regularly bicycled to work in Washington was killed when he rode headlong into the door of a truck as the driver opened it.

A physician riding with his wife on an off-road path in New York was killed when a tow truck turned, crossed the path and struck him.

I was lucky. In 2005, I was knocked down by a car that passed me, then cut me off as the driver turned into a parking spot. I landed on one of my newly replaced knees, and was so concerned about it that I failed to notice a dislocated finger. But what scared me most was the fact that the driver didn’t see me on the ground behind her car and would have backed over me if bystanders hadn’t alerted her to the accident.

These are a few of the hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries suffered by cyclists each year from crashes with motor vehicles. Most of these accidents could be prevented if cyclists and drivers would learn to “share the road,? as a nationwide campaign urges.

… Never ride on the sidewalk — sidewalk crashes are 25 times as frequent than crashes that occur on major streets. Safest are streets with bike lanes.

Ride in a straight path. If you must pull out into the lane used by drivers, turn around first to be sure the coast is clear.

If you are stopped at a light or stop sign to the right of a car or truck, the driver might not see you. Wait until the other vehicle clears the intersection before you proceed, in case the driver turns right unexpectedly.

Try to make eye contact with drivers before you change lanes or turn left.

Don’t weave in and out of parked cars. Although this is challenging in cities like New York, try to ride at least three feet — and preferably five feet — from parked cars to avoid being “doored.? Be alert to drivers and passengers who may be about to get out of cars, as well as to cars about to pull out of parking spots — they may not see yo

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1 Comment

  1. HenryH

    Ahh a breath of balanced-reporting air… I feel much better now.

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