Sharing the Road this Spring

cycle-path-228125_1280As spring temperatures continue heating up cyclists, pedestrians, children, and pets will become more and more active in and around Richmond (as well as the rest of Virginia). Because of this, it is important that we share the road with more than just our fellow cars.

  1. Be mindful of your passing speed: A pedestrian is eight times more likely to be killed by a car when struck at 30 mph than at 20 mph. Maintaining cautious speeds when passing helps avoid unnecessary risk. If you have to dangerously accelerate to pass a cyclist, then it likely isn’t the right time to pass them.
  2. Give a wide berth: Virginia has set 3 feet as the motorist’s minimum legal distance for safely passing cyclists. This means that when passing a cyclist, there needs to be at least 3 feet of clearance. (Cyclists, this means you need to ride single file so that cars can pass without completely obstructing other lanes.)
  3. Indicate your intentions early: Cyclists and motorists should signal well before any turn or hazard so that others on the road can anticipate their intentions and act accordingly.
  4. Maintain 360 degrees of awareness: 38% of cycling fatalities in 2008 took place at intersections. Before initiating a turn, drivers should focus attention on their rear-and side-view mirrors. Turning right? Look for cyclists along the curb who may be going straight.
  5. Ditch distractions: Cell phones and other distractions have increasingly been linked with accidents and fatalities over the years. Turning off your phone for the duration of time in the car could decrease your odds of an accident.
  6. Count to 2: Maintaining a decent follow-distance is as simple as counting to two. Start when a cyclist passes a landmark and count until you pass the same landmark. If you reach 2 full seconds this gives you 60 feet of space at 20 miles an hour. This is considered adequate time to brake in case of an emergency.

Life isn’t always as neat and tidy as a freshly-painted bike lane, and in the event that an accident occurs with any motorist, pedestrian, or cyclist, you can trust the professionals at Collier & Collier, P.C. Contact us at 1-804-364-5200 or toll free at 1-877-825-0543 for a free consultation to discuss your case. Let us put our resources to work for you.