Even the best of drivers can become frustrated by what they see as the careless or unnecessary actions of cyclists. Many motorists don’t cycle on a regular basis; or if they do, it might be as a hobby where they drive to a remote coastal or country location first. Either venue doesn’t provide an accurate impression of what it’s like to cycle on busy urban roads.
Here are just four simple tips to better understand and interact with cyclists when driving…
Appreciate the difficulty of signalling
When driving, a quick flick of a switch and the signal action is completed. Most cyclists signal with their hands and arms – but still have to keep control of their bike while doing so. This explains why signals might be intermittent, missed completely, or a last-minute action. Be prepared for this by providing both time and space.
Understand it’s a different road from the one you’re using
Well technically, of course it isn’t. But in reality, it is. Obstacles, such as small potholes, flimsy fallen branches, or what a horse might leave behind, are all minor problems that a driver might well ride straight through. It’s very different if you are a cyclist!
Traffic light wobbles
Taking off from traffic signals can almost seem like the starting grid for a race to some drivers! For cyclists, it’s a restart where they have to regain the stability necessary to move forward – and that may not be an instant action.
Open car doors carefully
The idea of whacking a cyclist when opening a car door can seem like a slapstick scene from a movie. In real life, such a thoughtless action can cause serious injury to a cyclist – who certainly isn’t expecting such a side-on assault – and can also escalate into a serious auto accident if other vehicles are passing.
Accidents still happen
However careful you are as a driver, it’s all too easy to be a victim of an accident where you are not at fault. If so, and your vehicle needs repair, as soon as possible do call 1800699034 and speak to our Not My Fault team about the provision of a replacement courtesy car, as specified under Australian Law.