Safety Tips for Drivers as Children Head Back to School

City bikers in San FranciscoThe summer is officially over and young students are pedaling their way to school every morning eager to learn. That means it’s also time for motorists to adopt more cautious habits. Here is a list of safety tips for drivers to keep both you and the children riding their bicycles to school (or any other cyclists) safer.

The Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do remember that cyclists are equal to motorists. The law is the same in every state; cyclists must obey the same laws as drivers of any other vehicle. Treat them equal to somebody in a car.
  • Don’t lose your patience. Cyclists understand that you want to get around them, but it’s not possible in every situation. Allow yourself extra time to:
    1. Wait for a safe opportunity to pass
    2. Give cyclists enough time to get through an intersection
    3. Provide enough space and time for a cyclist to avoid a road hazard
  • Do double check before making a turn. If you plan to make a right turn, a rider beside you may not be able to avoid hitting your passenger side as you slow to turn. A left turn may also result in a crash if a cyclist is coming from the opposite direction faster than you anticipate.
  • Don’t honk at a cyclist or tailgate them. It may be necessary to honk your horn at a rider to warn them of danger, but do so lightly and from distance. Honking while close to a cyclist can cause them to lose control and even have an accident. Also, do not tailgate a cyclist: they may be required to stop suddenly, and you may hit them.
  • Do make sure that there are no riders coming alongside your car before opening your door. One of the most common types of bicycle to car accidents occurs when somebody opens a car door after parallel parking and a cyclist slams into it.
  • Don’t think that bicycling isn’t for you until you’ve tried it. Bring that bike out of the garage and take it around the block. Riding a bike is not only great for the environment, it’s great for you! You never know, you may never drive your car to work again. Even if you do end up going back to four wheels, you will at least have learned a little bit about what cyclists feel like on the road.

Bicycle safety isn’t just for the people on the bikes. Everybody on the road has a responsibility to keep each other safe. Remember that cyclists, especially children, are much slower than cars and require extra time and space from you as a motorist to get around.

Dudek Law Firm APC San Diego bicycle accident lawyer