Right of way

It's a fact: More bikes are on the road. To minimize accidents, drivers need to be aware of them and act safely. Some tips:

Give them space: Recognize that bicycles have a right to the road and may legally take the full lane. Allow at least 3 feet of space while passing.


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Respect their speed: Do not underestimate how fast some cyclists are moving. In many circumstances, a bike can travel as fast as a car. Never turn in front of a bicycle, even if you think it's traveling slowly.

When in doubt, wait: If you can't allow the bike 3 feet of space, wait to pass until you can -- just as you would for any other slow-moving vehicle.

Be patient: Do not honk or yell at bicyclists. You could startle them or cause them to veer.

Be careful when opening your car door: When parked along roadways, look for bicyclists before opening your door, as a cyclist may be hugging the side of the road, right in the line of your car door. Open your car door into a rider's path and you may cause a serious accident.

Look for bikes: Keep an eye out for cyclists, and always look both ways before exiting a driveway or intersection.

-- Christie Aschwanden