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6 tips to help bikes and cars share the road

More and more, California residents are turning to bicycles for transportation, fitness and fun. But, while biking has a lot of advantages, it's important to remember that there are some safety risks. This is especially true when cyclists will be riding on the same road as motor vehicles.

Drivers have a responsibility to share the road with cyclists. In turn, bicycle riders have an obligation to follow traffic laws. Here are some tips that can help both drivers and cyclists avoid accidents and stay out of harm's way.

Safety tips for motorists

  • Always pass safely: Even when it feels frustrating, always wait to pass a cyclist until it is safe to do so. Don't zoom past them, or squeeze them off the road. Slow down, and give the cyclist at least three feet of clearance.
  • Watch out a crosswalks and intersections: Pay special attention at intersections, especially when turning. There may be a cyclist coming up behind you, or someone using the crosswalk. Make a habit of always looking for cyclists and pedestrians, not just other vehicles.
  • Be careful with your doors: If you're parked on the street, check for cyclists before you open your door. A bicyclist may not be expecting the door to open, and may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.

Safety tips for cyclists

  • Choose the right place to ride: If there is a designated bike path or bike lane, use it. If not, you should ride on the street, staying as far to the right of the lane as is safe and reasonable. Do not ride your bike on sidewalks, as this can be very dangerous for pedestrians.
  • Ride like a car: Cyclists have an obligation to follow the same traffic laws as vehicle drivers. Always ride in the same direction as traffic. Signal your turns and come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • Stay visible: Ride where drivers can see you. Wear bright colored clothing, and, if you're going to ride at night, be sure that you have working lights on the front and back of your bicycle. Just like you wouldn't drive a car at night with the headlights off, you should never ride at night without lights.

If an accident happens

Cyclists who are seriously injured in a collision with a negligent driver have a right to take legal action. If you have suffered a permanent injury, or have incurred significant medical bills or lost wages, it is a smart idea to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorney can advise you of your rights under the law and your options for taking action.

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