Situation: Car and bike collision; in the motorist’s mind, it is always the same thing every time – the bicyclist is the one at fault. Statistics show many times it is the bicyclists’ fault.
To reduce such collisions, many states adopted the “Share-the-Road” campaign. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) approved the use of the Share the Road sign since 1997.
The Share the Road Sign
Some people interpret this sign the wrong way. Some motorists assume that the sign means that bikes and cars can be side by side in the same lane. Some think that bikes should share the road by getting out of the way of a car – that bikes should not “take the lane”.
However, this signage is intended to alert motorists that they should anticipate the presence of bicyclists on that road and that they should share the road with them.
May Use Full Lane
In 2013, some states stopped using the “Share the Road” signs simply because they did not work. A recent study confirms that the “Bicycles May Use the Full Lane” signs are more effective in terms of increasing safety.
Sharing the Road
To have a safer experience when on the road, we have gathered some great tips:
#01. Practice cycling citizenship.
As a motorist or a cyclist, you have responsibilities. When cyclists ride respectfully, lawfully and responsibly, motorists will be more willing to accept their rightful place on the road. When you ride responsibly, there will be less tension on the road amongst users, and there will be a more harmonious environment for all motorists and cyclists.
#02. Ride on the right.
Riding towards oncoming traffic is illegal. Staying far to the right and riding with traffic is the most practical way. When changing lanes, make sure to wait for a safe opportunity and use the proper hand signals.
#03. Join in with traffic.
Sometimes, joining other traffic is necessary, especially when a road is too narrow for both a car and a bike. This is also referred to as ‘taking the lane’ by many cycling advocates. When you join the traffic, never pass on the right. Stay directly behind a vehicle so you can see a car’s signals, and if you need to pass, do so on the left within the proper lane.
#04. See eye-to-eye with other motorists.
Whenever possible, make eye contact with drivers. This way, you can be sure that the motorists see you. Having this ‘personal connection’ helps motorists remember that you are also a human being who deserves protection, attention, and respect.
#05. Ride consistently and predictably.
It is best to travel straight and true. For instance, you should not veer into the crosswalk then suddenly reappear on the road at an intersection. You should also not thread through parked cars. Remember, riding erratically puts you at danger and it also scares other drivers. Ride predictably.
We hope that these tips help you ride on the road safely!