More Canadian cities are finding ways to include biking in their infrastructure plans, proving to disgruntled motorists everywhere that cyclists are here to stay. Did you know that statistics show that fewer cycling collisions and fatalities occur in areas where cycling is more common? 

Here are some great tips to help you be a more considerate driver on the road: 

Share the Road

Rule number 1: The road does not exclusively belong to vehicles. Respect that a cyclist is a human being who deserves the same consideration on the road as you do! Give them a wide gap - experts recommend a minimum of 1 meter. Since they have no way of signalling safely the way you might, giving them space for sudden changes is important.

Consider the Weather Conditions

While motorists are protected from the elements, cyclists have to battle the elements. Sometimes they get caught off guard by a gust of wind or slowed down by rain, so be patient and give them extra space. 

1173105426 - POV bicycle riding: man with road racing bike in New York, a car door is open in his path

Practice the “Dutch Reach” to Open Doors

Slamming into a suddenly-opened door is every cyclist’s nightmare, so take extra care before opening your door to look at your surroundings. The “Dutch Reach” is when you use your opposite hand to open a door - using your right hand to open the left door forces you to look over your shoulder! 

Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of collisions - if you’re like many people, you struggle to resist looking at your phone while driving. Challenge yourself by tossing your phone on airplane mode until you get to your destination!

1032694058 - Woman driving and texting on cell phone and not paying attention to the road. She is about to hit a man on a bicycle.

Look Both Ways and Signal

Just like cyclists shouldn’t expect drivers to read their minds, the same goes for drivers - making abrupt changes without signalling is rude! Before turning right or crossing over a bike lane, check over your shoulder. At a stoplight cyclists are allowed to turn left just like cars, so watch out for them. 

Learn Cyclist Hand Signals

Cyclists can’t flip a switch to let everyone know their intentions - they use hand signals! Learning these is important for any driver to understand a cyclist’s next move:

  • Left Turn: left arm extended straight horizontally 
  • Right Turn: left arm bent upwards at a 90-degree angle
  • Stop: left hand extended to the ground, palm out. May use left arm bent downwards as a 90-degree angle. 



Be Patient

There may be times when a cyclist cannot safely take their hand off the handlebar to signal! Be patient - always assume the best intentions and don’t take things personally when on the road. 

We’re all trying to get from Point A to Point B safely, so cyclists and drivers need to work together to create a safe environment on the road for everyone.