Cyclists and motorists must work together for safety

The original article was published by the AA.

In anticipation of another beautiful South African spring and summer, many of us are looking forward to enjoying the warmer weather outdoors. This will include cyclists who remain a vulnerable group among road users.

Cyclists and motorists hold each other responsible for cycling safety, which is correct as both motorists and cyclists need to ensure safety by adhering to the rules of the road. Equally they must focus on the road and traffic, and acknowledging that each has a right to enjoy the road.

Cyclists often compete for limited road space with other road users, which can sometimes lead to aggressive behaviour resulting in confrontations. We urge all road users to keep calm on the road, and to respect others.

Motorists can ensure their and cyclists’ safety by applying the following tips:

  • Yield to cyclists, especially at intersections and circles
  • Check your blind spots and ensure the way is clear before changing lanes or turning
  • Don’t drive, stop or park in bicycle lanes (where they are available)
  • Be patient and only overtake when it is safe to do so
  • Give cyclists more than enough room when overtaking

Cyclists, too, have a responsibility to ensure their safety. Cyclists should:

  • Ensure that your bicycle is safe and roadworthy, especially if it hasn’t been used over winter
  •  Always obey traffic laws
  • Keep left and keep at least one metre clear of pavements and parked cars
  • Ride with the traffic, not against it
  • Make sure that you and your bicycle are as visible as possible when on the road (wear reflective clothing)
  • Always wear a protective helmet with the chin straps properly fastened
  • Only ride in single file and use clear hand signals when turning or changing lanes
  • Use lights when riding in low light or at night
  • Be courteous to other road users and avoid confrontation

Cyclists should also avoid transporting passengers on their bikes as this can obstruct their view. As with any other mode of transport, cyclists should also ensure their bikes are in good condition including the brakes and tyres, and that their bikes are suited for the rider’s weight and height.

Cyclists must also adhere to regulations that prohibit them from riding on freeways, and be aware that it is illegal for them to hold onto other vehicles while they are in motion.

For more information on cycling safety, please visit the Pedal Power Association.

Image Credit:  Cycle Toscana
Content Credit:  Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)