King County is an excellent place for biking, especially during the warmer spring and summer months. With so many bike-friendly routes and stunning outdoor spaces, it’s no surprise that more and more people are bicycling for transportation, exercise, and fun. However, as bicycle use increases, so does the need for extra precautions from drivers sharing the road with bicyclists. According to the Washington Department of Transportation, between 2019 and 2022, approximately 200 bicyclists were severely injured in crashes with drivers of motor vehicles.
Drivers are critical in ensuring safety. Remember: bicyclists are smaller, less visible, and less protected.
In honor of Bicycle Safety Month, we’re sharing tips for drivers to help keep bicyclists safer.
- Give bicyclists space: When passing a bicyclist, move over to the adjacent lane, if possible, to give them ample room. If you can’t move over, slow down and pass cautiously, leaving at least three feet of space between your car and the bike.
- Watch for bicyclists even when parked: Always check for bicyclists before opening your door. Bicyclists are more vulnerable to doorings and collisions with parked vehicles, so it’s crucial to be attentive before opening your door.
- Watch for bicyclists before turning: Look for bikes, especially when turning right at a red light. Bicyclists may be in your blind spot, so check carefully before turning.
- Respect bike lanes: With warmer weather, you’ll likely see more bikes on the road, so it’s a perfect time to remind you to share the road. Bike lanes are reserved for bicyclists only, so stay out of them.
- Yield: Bicyclists have the same rights as drivers on the road. Yield to them when necessary.
- Be prepared: Don’t assume bicyclists always follow traffic laws or signals. Be ready for unexpected movements, and always be alert.
- Watch out for children: Children are often less experienced riders and may not be able to control their bikes as well as adults. Therefore, be extra cautious when driving near children on bikes.
- Slow down: Driving the speed limit decreases the chance of injuring a bicyclist in the event of a collision.
- Become a bicyclist: Riding a bike is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It also helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. In addition, people who bike more are more aware of the safety needs of bicyclists when they are in the driver’s seat.
All these tips are to remind you to JUST BE NICE!
Bicyclists, like drivers, want to get where they’re going safely. So, drive like they’re your neighbors, friends, family, and children.
It’s important to remember that safety is a shared responsibility. Drivers and bicyclists can work together to guarantee that everyone stays safe while on the road. So, let’s make King County a more bike-friendly place and ensure everyone enjoys our region’s beauty on two wheels.
Lastly, this bicycle safety month, we want to remind people that biking is a great way to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution besides lowering their carbon footprint. So, drivers consider bicycling more.
For more information about bicycle safety, visit:
Originally Published 5/17/2023.