Police Remind Bicyclists and Motorists of Rules of the Road

The Columbus Police Department is reminding both bicyclists and motorists about the rules of the road as they share our city streets. 

Rules of the Road

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as any other driver of a vehicle. While a driver’s license is not required to ride a bike, bicyclists are required to know and obey all traffic laws such as stopping at stop signs and traffic lights and signaling before turning or changing lanes. Bicyclists should never, under any circumstances, ride against traffic.

A high percentage of all car/bike collisions result from cyclists going the wrong way. Stay to the right if you are moving slower than other traffic, maintain a constant position in the lane about three feet away from the curb or parked cars. Do not weave in and out of parked cars. Maintaining a presence on the road will help drivers see you and will reduce the chance that motor vehicles will pull in front of you. If lanes are too narrow to share with motor vehicles,
the safest place to ride your bicycle is in the middle of the lane. If the lanes become wider, move over to the far right side again.

Rules for Bicycles

Bicycles are the most vulnerable of all vehicles on the road, and extra safety precautions should always be taken when riding. Driving on roads requires care and courtesy whether you are driving a car or a bicycle. As road users, bicyclists must be predictable and highly visible; often drivers of vehicles have a difficult time seeing bicyclists in traffic. The following are some tips to help bicyclists Share the Road with vehicles.

  • Obey all traffic laws. Ride with traffic, obey stop signs, traffic lights and other traffic controls. Bicyclists do best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.
  • Be aware of surrounding traffic, especially when riding in traffic with large trucks and buses that make wide right turns. Don’t sneak in between vehicles, and never assume that drivers see bicyclists or hand signals.
  • Ride with traffic. Ride on the right side, with the flow of traffic. Riding against traffic may cause you to miss traffic control devices, such as traffic signs and stop lights. Be especially careful when riding near or around trucks.
  • Be careful when riding too close to a large truck. Large trucks have blind spots in the front, back and on the sides, which make it difficult for drivers to see around them.
  • Be visible and predictable. Wear bright colors, ride straight, signal before changing directions, and plan ahead to avoid obstacles.

Rules for Motorists

Driving on roads requires care whether you are driving a car or a bicycle. Motorists must respect the rights of other road users including bicyclists. Do your part by being a safe and courteous driver. The following are tips to help drivers Share the Road with bicyclists:

  • Allow three feet of passing space between the right side of your vehicle and a bicyclist just as you would with a slow-moving vehicle. Maintain this distance even if there are designated bike lanes.
  • Do not pass bicyclists if you will be making a right turn immediately afterward. Always assume bicyclists are traveling through the intersection.
  • Before opening your car door, look for bicyclists who may be approaching.
  • Do NOT pass bicyclists if oncoming traffic is near. Wait as you would with any slow moving vehicle.
  • Reduce your speed when passing bicyclists, especially if the roadway is narrow.
  • Don’t blast your horn when approaching bicyclists — you could startle them and cause an accident.
  • Give bicyclists adequate space to maneuver. Recognize situations and obstacles which may be hazardous to cyclists, such as potholes, debris, and drain grates. 
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