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Sharing Roads
With Bicyclists

How to drive safely
around bicyclists

Bicyclists and drivers share the same roads and must obey the same traffic laws. There are major differences between the vehicles, however, and obviously, bikers are far more vulnerable. Also, cyclists have to balance to ride, can't stop as quickly as cars and are affected more by potholes, gravel, railroad crossings, oil and other vehicles. These conditions force sudden and unpredictable moves.

For these reasons, it's important to always approach cyclists carefully. To be safe, slow down and don't attempt to pass until there's plenty of room to do so safely. Move well to the left if you need to pass, or wait for the cyclist to yield if necessary. Here are five guidelines for safe driving around cyclists:

1. Drive cautiously

  • Always slow down when you encounter cyclists
  • In inclement weather, give cyclists extra trailing and passing room
  • Recognize situations that may be dangerous to cyclists and give them space
  • It's difficult to judge cyclists' speed (almost always, they're traveling much faster than they appear) so don't turn or pull out in front of them

    2. Yield

  • Cyclists are considered vehicles and should be given the appropriate right of way
  • Don't overtake cyclists and turn right across their path at the last moment; slow down, wait for them to pass through the intersection and then turn right
  • If you're behind a cyclist approaching a stop sign, don't pass; wait your turn
  • Cyclists may take the entire lane when they perceive that hazards, road width or traffic speed dictate
  • Allow extra time for cyclists to cross intersections

    3. Be considerate

  • Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections
  • Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists
  • Look for cyclists when opening doors

    4. Pass carefully

  • Leave at least three feet of space between your car and a cyclist when passing; more if you're driving a wide vehicle such as a truck with extended mirrors
  • Wait until road and traffic conditions allow you to safely pass
  • Check over your shoulder after passing a cyclist before moving back to normal position

    5. Watch for children

  • Children on bicycles are often unpredictable - expect the unexpected and slow down
  • Most children don't have adequate knowledge of traffic laws
  • Children are harder to see because they are typically smaller than adults

    Graphics courtesy of CDOT Bicycle/Pedestrian Program