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Other motorists can help prevent bicycle accidents

California is a great state to bike in, as the weather allows for riding all year long in many areas. Bicyclists have the same responsibilities and rights as other motorists; however, they are at a higher risk of being in accidents.

One risk factor in bicycle accidents is other drivers. Motorists do not always know how to drive around bicyclists, and the sheer size of bikes makes them harder to see.

Obey state laws

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the State of California requires that motorists give bicyclists at least three feet when passing them. This safe passing law gives bicyclists the space in case they need to swerve to avoid a hazard or move for another reason. A driver should also take into account the size of the vehicle, the weather conditions, the road surface and the traffic conditions when passing.

Drive defensively

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses that it is always a good idea for motorists to drive defensively and not assume they know what a bicyclist is going to do. Drivers should be especially careful when turning. When turning right on red, they should look behind and to the right to ensure no bicyclist is approaching. When turning left, drivers should not underestimate the speed of an oncoming bicyclist in order to avoid turning in front of the bike, causing a collision.

One concern of bicyclists is getting doored. This refers to a driver opening a car door right as a bike is passing. To avoid this, drivers should first check the side mirror to make sure it is clear before opening the door. Drivers should also be aware of road hazards, such as potholes and parked cars, that may cause a cyclist to swerve to avoid hitting them.

Practice safe driving habits

To prevent accidents with cyclists and other vehicles, drivers should practice good general safety habits. This includes minimizing distractions, driving the speed limit and obeying traffic signs.