By Jemma Buys
Here are the PPA’s top tips to help cyclists and motorists avoid conflict on the roads.
The Pedal Power Association (PPA) believes as much as drivers need to be more cyclist aware, follow road rules and drive safely, cyclists do too.
“We have come up with some tips to help cyclists and motorists avoid conflict on our roads,” explained Rens Rezelman, chairperson of the PPA, an organisation committed to promoting cycling and the interests of cyclists.
“Our influence and interest span across recreational road and off-road cycling events and initiatives, supporting cycling community projects, lobbying for the interests of cyclists’ safety and rights, assisting communities in developing through cycling and encouraging our youth to cycle.
“The PPA safe cycling campaign, Stay Wider of the Rider, launched in Cape Town in 2014 and has now become a national campaign.
“We have handed out more then 10 000 reflective bibs in all provinces and our many awareness campaigns are targeted at educating drivers to keep cyclists safe on the roads,” Rezelman explained.
Here are the PPA’s top tips to help cyclists and motorists avoid conflict on the roads:
• Be sure you and your bicycle are as visible as possible when on the road. Wear bright clothing and use lights.
• As a legal road user, always obey the rules of the road.
• Ride single file and use clear hand signals when turning.
• Don’t cycle on the pavement unless its a designated cycle path.
• Let’s promote a culture of caring. Acting like the road is your own personal raceway and everyone else is an obstacle, just gives all cyclists a bad name.
• Avoid ‘dooring’ cyclists. Dooring means to open your door into a cyclist riding past. It can also be fatal and happens more than you’d expect. Think about the width of your door when its open; you easily have a 1-1.5m mobile barrier swinging into the road each time you get in or out of the car. Check around you before just opening your door.
• Realise the vulnerablility of cyclists. Driving a vehicle hugely heavier and more powerful than a bicycle, in any impact the cyclist will lose.
• Exercise some caution and be patient – 84 per cent of cyclist casualities in recent years were caused by careless inattention, firstly by drivers and, secondly, by cyclists. The responsibility to avoid hitting cyclists rests solely with a motor vehicle driver. Use mirrors as cyclists may overtake slow-moving traffic on either side. They may sometimes need to change direction suddenly, so be aware of this and observe any indications they give, such as looking over their shoulder. Don’t tempt them into taking risks or endanger them.
• Allow plenty of space. When overtaking a cyclist, you’re required to give them as much room as you would a car. They may need to swerve to avoid hazards. Always anticipate that there may be a pothole, oil, wet or some other obstruction in or on the road.
• Don’t drive to closely behind a cyclist. You may not be able to stop in time if they come off their bike or do something abruptly. Unless you have an entire clear, empty lane in which to pass, slow down and wait until there is room to pass and then pass them slowly.
• Drive slowly on low-visibility roads. On rural roads or those with limited visability, remember that a cyclist could be around the next corner. It could also be an elderly person, a child, an animal or a tractor turning into a field. Reducing your speed reduces the risk of something happening. It is not possible to see ahead of hills and curves, so slow down when you’re not sure what’s on the other side or around the corner. Make sure you can stop the car in half the distance you can see to be clear. At night the need to do so is more exaggerated.
• Cyclists have the right to claim the lane. Cyclists have as much right as motorists to take up an entire lane. You may consider that they’re being utterly selfish by doing so, but in fact they’re preventing having an accident. They really aren’t trying to slow you down; it’s just the safest way for them to cycle, particually if there’s a blind bend, a narrowing of the road, a high-risk junction, pinch point or traffic lights ahead. Additionally, if there’s a narrowing of the road, they’re stopping you squeezing through far too closely beside them. Cyclists should never cycle in the gutter because it gives no room for avoiding obstacles and leaves them no room to fall in an accident, meaning they could go straight under your wheels.
“The PPA wishes to thank cyclists and motorists for their endless support of our safe cycling campaigns,” concluded Rezelman.
Article Credit to BenoniCityTimes.