4/20/17

Share the road tips for motorists

Image result for trimarni greenville cycling


Every time I get on my bike to go for a ride, I feel safe. Understanding that accidents do happen, I always ride cautious and alert. Although my reaction time on two wheels is not as stellar as Karel's, I do feel like I have the skills to ride safe on the open road.

Prior to moving to Greenville, I felt scared on my bike. With limited options to ride, I always felt like I was risking my life on two wheels as it seemed like every car needed to get somewhere fast and the person behind the wheel was distracted. 

Although we, as cyclists, can not control every person behind the wheel of a car, I do feel strongly that we live in a very bike friendly area and that the cars share the road with cyclists. From our door step, we have an unlimited amount of routes that we can ride, at any time of the day. Although we know the routes to avoid during higher traffic times, we select country roads (and the roads less traveled) as the drivers are less distracted and less rushed and the views are breath taking. 

One of my favorite things about riding in Greenville is that it is fun. Although it is very challenging to ride where we live, it's always an adventure to see the mountains, say hi to all the animals and to look at all of the scenery. We can change our route on the fly and thus, we never have to repeat our routes if we don't want to. Riding in Greenville has given me a great love of cycling because the riding is never boring. For someone who loves nature, being on the bike is great therapy, even when I am working hard and trying to stay on Karel's wheel. 

Image result for greenville cycling trimarni

Greenville has a very active bike community which means we often have bike-related events. For example, this Friday, in celebration of Earth day, to raise awareness about alternative transportation options in Greenville, a cyclist, bus rider and motorist will see who has the shortest and quickest morning commute in downtown Greenville. For more info about this event, visit this link.

Although the easiest solutions to safer roads is to stop the distracted driving by prohibiting the use of cell phone usage while behind the wheel and enforcing harsh penalties if a cyclist is hit, I believe that education of sharing the road with cyclists is very important. As an example, in Europe, specifically in Czech where Karel is from, cars and trucks understand how to safely pass a cyclist. Many times, the cyclist has the right of way. The cars work together on both sides of the road so that the cyclist can ride safely, without harm, to get to where he/she needs to be. Seeing that a bicycle is used as a form of transportation in many places around the world, it's understandable that the bike is more than just a form of physical activity but it is also an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to get to places quickly and easily. 

Whether you are riding a bike for fun, to commute, to enjoy the fresh air or for training/exercise, you should never have to ride scared. Instead, ride on bike friendly/accessible roads, be seen and always make sure to be alert, skilled and prepared for the unexpected. 

To help improve the safety of cyclists on the road, here are 10 important safety tips from Yield to Life. 



10 Safety Tips for Motorists from Yield To Life


1. Different but Equal

In all states, cyclists are deemed by law to be drivers of vehicles and are entitled to the same rights on the road as motorists. Expect cyclists on the road. Watch for cyclists on the road. Treat them as you would any slow-moving vehicle.

2. Patience, not Patients

Patience, especially on the road, is a virtue, and can save lives.
Your patience may involve:
  • Waiting until it is safe to pass a bicycle and refraining from tailgating.
  • Giving cyclists the right of way when the situation calls for it.
  • Allowing extra time for cyclists to go through intersections.
  • Recognizing road hazards that may be dangerous for cyclists and giving cyclists the necessary space to deal with them. In conditions where there is not enough room for a cyclist to ride to the right, they are allowed to ride closer to the lane of traffic, and sometimes even in the lane of traffic.
Never engage in conduct that harasses or endangers a cyclist. Above all: Be tolerant. Be understanding. Be careful.

3. A Passing Grade

Do not pass a cyclist until you can see that you can safely do so. You should allow ample space between your vehicle and the bicycle and make sure you do not place the cyclist in danger. If you pass too closely the drag from your car can pull a cyclist off course and cause the rider to swerve out of control.

4. The Right Behavior

Watch out for cyclists when you are turning right. A bicyclist may well be to the right of you and planning to go straight at the same intersection. Do not speed ahead of the bicyclist thinking you can negotiate the turn before they reach your car. The cyclist may be going faster than you think and, as you slow to make the turn, the cyclist may not be able to avoid crashing into the passenger side of your vehicle.

5. To The Left, to The Left

Also look for cyclists when making a left-hand turn. Cyclists who are crossing straight through the same intersection in the opposite direction may be going faster than you realize. It is particularly dangerous on a descending slope, when cyclists pick up more speed.

6. A Back-up Plan:

Bicycles, and the people who drive them, come in all shapes and sizes. When backing out of your driveway always look to see if someone is riding in your path. Children on small bikes might be hard to see. Drive slowly and look carefully.

7. Egress Etiquette

After parallel parking, make sure the coast is clear for opening the car door to exit. Make sure there are no cyclists riding alongside your car or fast approaching. By using the rear view mirrors and by turning around, a driver can spot an approaching cyclist and circumvent a disaster. A cyclist cannot anticipate when a driver will open a door, but a driver can easily detect a cyclist who may be in the line of danger.

8. Respect

Cyclists have a rightful spot on the road. Cyclists also positively impact the environment with each revolution of their wheels by opting to ride rather than drive. Do not resent cyclists. Replace frustration with a smile every time to see a cyclist.

9. Honing Your Horning Habit

Do not to honk unnecessarily at cyclists. If the need does arise to honk your horn to alert a cyclist that you are about pass, do so at a respectable distance. If you are too close, the noise itself can cause a cyclist to lose his or her bearings and create a hazardous situation for both you and the cyclist.

10. Try it, You’ll Like it

If you can’t beat them, join them. Ride a bike. It may just change your life. Riding is good for you and good for your environment. At the very least, it will give you a better appreciation for the problems cyclists face everyday on the road with respect to motorists.