With more people embracing cycling in Malaysia as a form of exercise and transportation, it is important for drivers to be aware of the potential for an accident when bicycles share the road with cars. In 2019 alone, there were 201 bicycle accidents in Malaysia with 107 of them being fatal, 35 serious injuries, and 59 light injuries.
While many cyclists are making Putrajaya a cycling hub on weekends thanks to its relatively clear traffic and thus, safer roads, we should also be aware of how to drive around cyclists on busier roads. So, in conjunction with World Bicycle Day this 3rd June, here are seven safety tips for drivers to share the road with bicycles.
1. Check Your Blind Spots
When driving, it’s important to always check your blind spots before changing lanes or making turns. This is especially important when driving near cyclists, as they tend to be much smaller and harder to spot. Make sure to do a thorough check of your blind spots before changing lanes or making a turn. By being aware of your blind spots, you’ll not only contribute to reducing the number of bicycle accidents in Malaysia, but will be better able to avoid accidents with other motor vehicles as well.
2. Give Cyclists Space
As a driver, you should give cyclists enough space when sharing the road. Make sure to leave around 1.5 meters of space between your car and the bicycle when passing it. This will leave enough space for both of you to react in case of unforeseen circumstances such as if another vehicle suddenly merges into the lane or if there is debris on the road. It’s also important to be aware of cyclists when making turns or changing lanes so you can keep enough distance between your car and them.
3. Slow Down Around Bicycles
When driving around bicycles on the road, it’s important to always remember that they are vulnerable road users. As a motorist, you should reduce your speed when passing cyclists in order to give them extra room and time to react. This will also reduce the wind pressure that could push a cyclist to the side as you pass them by. Plus, it’ll give you more time to react in case the cyclist unexpectedly comes in your way.
4. Don’t Cut in Front of Them
When driving, always maintain a safe distance between your car and any bikes that are on the road. It’s easy to expect a bicycle to stop on a dime for us, but bicycles can actually carry some speed and require enough time to stop, just like other vehicles. Treat bicycles like other vehicles and let them pass before cutting into a lane or junction. Give riders plenty of time and space to navigate the streets safely, and always use your turn signal when changing lanes.
5. Avoid Driving in Bicycle Lanes
It’s important for drivers to be aware of the presence of cyclists on the road and to respect their right to share the roadway. Bicycle lanes are designed for cyclists and should be avoided by drivers. When driving, always be mindful of bicycle lane markings and avoid crossing into them unless absolutely necessary, or when directed by a traffic sign or signal.
6. Check for Bicycles Before Exiting Your Car
When exiting your car, make sure to check for any bicycles in the vicinity that may be riding alongside you. Be mindful of cyclists when you open your door, as they may be in the blind spot of your mirror and could be injured if you open the door without checking first. That being said, you should always practice this anyway since other cars and motorcycles could run into your door if you open it without checking.
7. Be Alert to Their Signals
Be aware of the cyclists sharing the road with you and stay alert to their signals. Cyclists are smaller and less visible than cars, so it’s important to be on the lookout for them. Cyclists often use hand signals to indicate when they’re turning or stopping, so be sure to pay attention to these signals in order to avoid collisions. If possible, make eye contact with them when at junctions so you both can communicate your intention to each other and avoid a bicycle-car accident.
No matter how experienced a driver you are, it’s important to be extra cautious and aware when sharing the road with bicycles. By following these safety tips, you can help reduce the number of bicycle-car accidents. And who knows, with more awareness of bicycles, we might be able to improve our road infrastructure to be safer for everyone, from pedestrians to motorists alike. With that, Happy World Bicycle Day!
This article was revved up with the help of AI but don’t worry, a human writer was still at the wheel, steering the narrative with care and finesse. Hope you enjoyed the ride!