Cyclists v motorists: Who's up to speed on the rules?
Cyclists have a lot to lose by being discourteous and unsafe.
And equally, motorists have a lot to lose by even the smallest level of negligence. Failing to check – and double check - those side mirrors could be catastrophic. Possibly a mistake that you’ll never forget.
Every year, several cyclists die on Irish roads, and are involved in countless road crashes.
As the number of cyclists on our roads increase, helped by incentives like the Bike to Work scheme and Dublin Bikes, there are guidelines which we should all keep in mind.
There is enough room on our roads for everyone.
• Honour the traffic light: Follow the rules of the road. Never run traffic lights or weave unpredictably in and out of traffic. Stop at pedestrian crossings. Don’t cycle on the footpath.
• Keep the road rage in check – don’t get into shouting matches with motorists; steer well clear of left-turning trucks - let them turn before you move ahead
• Keep to the left. Always look behind and give the proper signal before moving off, changing lanes or making a turn
• Watch your speed, especially when cycling on busy streets and going downhill
• Always wear luminous clothing such as hi-vis vests, fluorescent armbands and reflective belts so that other road users can see you
• Never cycle in the dark without adequate lighting – white light for front, red light for rear
• Wear a helmet
• Have your bike serviced – in particular, your brakes should work properly and your tyres should be inflated to the right pressure and be in good condition
Advice to drivers:
• Consider riding a bicycle yourself a few times to get a better understanding of the risks cyclists face.
• Cyclists can encounter obstacles like drains, potholes or debris - give as much room as practically possible when overtaking a cyclist
• Expect cyclists in unexpected places – always check your mirrors for cyclists before turning.
• When parking: Check the door mirror and look behind you before you open your door. A cyclist will have no warning that you’re about to open the door.
• If you're uncertain as to the intention of a cyclist, hold back. There’s no rush.
• When turning left or moving over to the left – check mirrors and blind spots carefully.
• When turning left allow any cyclist ahead of you to pass the junction rather than overtake them and turn sharply across their front wheel.
• Don't park in cycle lanes – you could be forcing a cyclist into a dangerous situation and will be committing a road traffic offence if you drive or park in a cycle lane marked with a solid white line.
• Don't overtake a cyclist if you can see that the road narrows ahead – you could end up squeezing them off the road.
• Allow cyclists extra room in wet weather as surfaces will be wet and slippery.
• Don't drive aggressively around cyclists or sound your horn
• Take special care on roundabouts – you must give way to any vehicle approaching from the right and that includes cyclists.
• Be prepared to wait behind a cyclist turning right in the same way you would for a car – rather than squeezing past or getting impatient.