03/29/22

Cars And Bicycles: Six Rules For Sharing The Road

It’s Spring, and Oregonians are ready to be out and about enjoying the warmer weather, and for many that means strapping on a helmet and hitting the road.  Cycling is great for commuting, exercising, or enjoying an outing with friends, but the influx of bikes on the road, especially in cycle-friendly Portland,  can be distressing for drivers.  Bicycles have the same rights to the road as any other vehicle, and in the same respect, they are also required to follow the same laws and road rules as drivers. Here are some tips for drivers and bicyclists that will allow both to share the road safely.

FOR DRIVERS:

  • Maintain Distance. Drivers should maintain a three-foot distance between their vehicle and a bicycle. When passing a bicyclist,  do so smoothly while maintaining a consistent speed and distance. 
  • Turn Cautiously.  When making a left-hand turn be mindful of an approaching bicycle and when in doubt, yield as their speed may be faster than you think. When turning right, check your rearview mirror to check for a cyclist that may be approaching from behind. 
  • Know the Signals.  It is a bicyclist’s responsibility to signal their intended movement  and as a driver, it is your responsibility to react accordingly as you would for a brake light or vehicle turn signal.  

FOR BICYCLIST:

  • Be Predictable.  A bike is more nimble than a vehicle and easier to do quick turns but to a driver, this can cause a knee-jerk reaction that can create an unsafe situation.  Avoid any sudden turns or swerves that might cause a driver to react without warning. 
  • Assume You Cannot Be Seen. To avoid collision, assume you are invisible to drivers. Do your best to stay out of the vehicles blind spot and attempt eye contact and acknowledgement with a driver before making turns.
  • Be Aware of Parked Cars.  A vehicle does not have to be moving to be a hazard.  Maintain slow pace and keep a watchful eye out for car doors that might unexpectedly swing open catching you off guard. 

Both vehicles and bicycles have the right to be on the road and being aware of the laws and respectful of each other will allow everyone to get where they are going safely.  

Oregon Law dictates that drivers must give a bicyclist enough space to avoid collision should the cyclist fall on a road with a speed limit of 35 MPH or greater.