When you learn to drive ideally you should want to become a safe and confident driver. You can do this by learning more about defensive driving, but a lot of the technique comes down to being a considerate road user.
One road user you will find yourself sharing a lane with is the cyclist. Cyclists can be very vulnerable when cycling alongside cars. 30% of bike-related accidents are caused by a driver’s failure to yield to the cyclist. There seems to be some animosity between drivers and cyclists, here are some things to consider during your driving lessons in Brighton and Hove as you take your fellow road users into consideration…
Cyclists ignore the Highway Code
Think too many cyclists endanger their own lives and jump the lights? RoadDriver.co.uk cites a poll that reveals 85% of car drivers “admit to gambling amber lights in an attempt to race through the traffic…38% say they rarely stop if the lights are on amber.” Experienced cyclist Gavin Keir suspects that “It’s a fair bet that most of those red-light-jumping cyclists are also car drivers who most likely do the same when behind the wheel.” Even if you do believe a cyclist is ignoring the Highway Code it doesn’t mean you should too.
Cyclists slow down the traffic!
While driving behind a cyclist waiting for a safe opportunity to overtake them remember that the average speed for motor vehicles in London is reported as varying between 8 mph to 11 mph. A commuting cyclist can reach an average speed of 15 mph and a fit cyclist on a light road bike is capable of getting to an average of 20-25 mph.
All cyclists are experienced
Don’t forget that unlike a car, you don’t need a licence to ride a bike. A cyclist might be a child, a student or someone starting out on a getting fit regime. There’s no telling how experienced a cyclist is or how comfortable they are on the road. Therefore you should give them enough space, (it might seem rather pessimistic but the ideal amount of space is room for the cyclist to fall off without going under your tyres) as you pass in order not to be the cause of any nervous wobbles.
Cyclists don’t need much space on the road
The Highway Code Rule 213 states that: Motorcyclists and cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles such as drain covers or oily, wet or icy patches on the road. Give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they may have to make. Cyclists don’t want to fall off their bike or damage their tyres, be aware they might have to modify their path a little in order to do so.
I’ll see their reflective gear!
If you didn’t see the cyclist you probably aren’t looking in your mirrors enough. Because cyclists and motorcyclists are so much smaller than cars it’s easy for them to be concealed by another vehicle and go unnoticed until it is too late. As you approach traffic lights be sure to check your mirrors for any cyclists on either side of your vehicle. Be aware of your blind spots.
Remember, a cyclist is one less car on the road so they are reducing congestion and making your journey that bit smoother and faster!