One of the most common reasons for vehicle-bicycle collisions is visibility. Often, motorists report “I didn’t see them,” after being involved in a crash with a cyclist. Put these New Year’s resolutions into action for 2018 and help prevent potentially fatal or serious collisions.
Resolution #1: Put that cell phone down!
Whatever it is, it can wait. Pull over to a safe place and put your car in park before checking your text messages or answering a phone call. Distracted driving is one of the most preventable causes of collisions on the road.
Resolution #2: Properly adjust your vehicle’s mirrors before you go.
- Inside rear-view mirror – adjust so you can see the entire rear window from the driver’s seat. You should have to move only your eyes, not your head, when using this mirror.
- Driver’s side-view mirror – place your head against the left side window and adjust the mirror so you can just barely see the side of the car in the mirror’s right side.
- Passenger’s side-view mirror – position your head so that it is just above the center console. Adjust the mirror so you can just barely see the side of the car in the left side of the mirror.
Resolution #3: Check your mirrors every 5 seconds and before turning.
This may seem like a lot, but you can’t see what you don’t look for. A quick glance at all three mirrors every five seconds is all it takes. This will ensure you are aware of what is happening around you with not only cyclists, but also other vehicles and pedestrians.
Always check your side-view mirrors before making a turn, particularly a right turn. Many drivers focus only on the objects in front of them when preparing to make a turn. The most common vehicle maneuver that causes a crash with a cyclist is a right turn. Always use your blinker and check your side-view mirrors before completing a turn.
Resolution #4: Don’t forget about your blind spots!
Remember to check your blind spots when changing lanes, before merging, when pulling on or off the road, before backing up, and when exiting your vehicle after parallel parking. Nobody wants to be the careless motorist who “doors” an unsuspecting cyclist – consider using the “Dutch reach” when exiting your car after parallel parking.
A common practice in the Netherlands, simply use the hand that is opposite of the door to open the door. This method forces you to turn your upper torso towards the window and make it easier to look over your shoulder to see if a cyclist is passing.