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How can Fullerton motorists avoid accidents with bicycles?

Due to its relatively pleasant climate, residents of California can ride their bicycles just about any time of the year. And, there are many reasons why some prefer bicycling over driving. Bicycling is good exercise, is good for the environment, and is more cost-efficient than driving a vehicle. However, that doesn't mean that bicyclists don't face dangers every day, including the possibility of a bicycle accident that could leave them severely injured or even dead.

This is because many motorists simply don't know how they are supposed to drive when sharing the road with bicyclists. Drivers may be impatient, distracted or may simply not know that bicyclists have the same rights on the roadways as automobiles do. The following are some tips on how motorists can drive safely around bicyclists.

First of all, motorists must stay alert. Distracted driving, such as using a cell phone, while behind the wheel can lead to bicycle accidents, just as they can lead to accidents involving other motor vehicles. At all times, motorists need to keep their attention on the road and their hands on the steering wheel so they can react properly to unanticipated situations.

Second, motorists should drive at a safe speed around bicyclists. In general, this means that if a motorist is going to pass a bicyclist on the road, the motorist should give the bicyclist three feet or more of leeway. In addition, before a motorist opens their car door, they should look to make sure there aren't any bicyclists nearby. The bicyclist could run into the car door or end up veering into traffic.

Also, motorists should not honk the horn of their vehicles at an individual riding a bicycle, even if it's just to warn the bicyclist that the vehicle is behind them. The noise could surprise a bicyclist, leading to a collision. Finally, be extra careful when it is a child on a bicycle. Kids are unpredictable and may not have developed the level of experience adult riders have.

These are only a few tips for motorists who find themselves sharing the road with bicyclists. Even with a helmet and protective gear, bicyclists are very vulnerable should they be involved in a collision. Therefore, motorists must drive with due care to avoid causing a serious or even fatal bicycle accident.

Source: jacksonville.com, "Bicycle safety: The road to mutual respect between cyclists and motorists," David Crumpler, Aug. 15, 2016

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