Nothing can be as infuriating as driving behind the slowpoke on a Schwinn. (Just get out of the way already!) But cyclists have as much right to ride in the street as you do. Much to the chagrin of Dayton drivers, the Ohio traffic code defines bicycles as vehicles that can be legally operated on low-speed roadways.
With May being National Bike Month, it’s time to start preparing for bike-filled roads. To ensure you’re driving safely around cyclists—even and especially the slow ones—read through our tips below.
All Rules Apply to Cyclists
Although they may be going slower than the speed limit, cyclists must abide by the same rules of the road as drivers. They must ride as far to the right of the street and along with the flow of traffic, while also obeying road signs and warnings, signaling an intent to turn, stopping at red lights and stop signs, and leaving their fingers off mobile devices. In reality, cyclists are the same as you, if you also wore a helmet and spandex while driving around Dayton.
Cyclists must be clearly visible to all other vehicles on the road, as well, whether in the daylight or at night. To reduce the chance of potentially fatal accidents, Ohio lawmakers recently made it a requirement for all bicycles to have a front lamp and a rear light or reflector.
Passing Cyclists in Your Car
By state law, drivers may pass any vehicle, including bikes, if all the following conditions are met:
- The bike is traveling slower than the set speed limit;
- The passing vehicle must not travel over the speed limit to pass;
- The passing vehicle must not attempt to pass on the right side of cyclists;
- The passing vehicle must leave at least 3 feet of clearance between bike and vehicle;
- The passing vehicle must not endanger anyone on the road, including the cyclist and drivers in the opposite lanes.
So, yes, you can certainly pass slow bike riders if it’s safe to do so.
Parking in Downtown Dayton
Downtown Dayton is a fairly major hub for cyclists. When you park on the street, be sure to do a quick double-check in your side mirror before swinging the door open. You really don’t want to be in the situation of explaining to your insurance agent and the police why you neglected to check traffic, which ultimately resulted in the bike-riding victim doing a gymnast flip over your car door.
Check Before Turning
Although cyclists are usually better than drivers about obeying traffic laws, you must take their safety into your own hands, especially when making turns at a traffic stop. Bicyclists may sometimes stop in the most unfortunate places, like in your blind spot. This can be problematic for drivers in the turn lanes. Bend your neck and manually peek behind you before making any right or left turns, regardless of right of way. Just because you have right of way doesn’t mean you’re right to feel safe.
Drive a Newer Car
Keeping your eyes on the road can only go so far. When the 1-in-a-million pebble knocks the cyclist you’re following off his bike and into the road, you’ll want all the help you can get to avoid a catastrophe.
That’s where Honda Sensing’s safety suite of driver-assist features comes into play. On most 2018 Honda models, you’ll find safety features like blind-spot warnings, automatic high-beam headlights, collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. Think of Honda Sensing as your “Plan B.”
If you need a new car in Ohio, seek out advice from one of our Dayton Honda dealers. Our car dealerships have all the newest Honda vehicles in stock, including the 2018 Accord and 7 other Honda models that won Car and Driver’s Editors’ Choice Awards.
Tips for Cyclists
You know how inconvenience can bring out the worst in your fellow humans. So, keep your cool even when you get flipped the bird. Aside from remaining calm on the road, follow these other pieces of advice to cycle safely alongside those scary multi-ton vehicles:
- Wear a helmet: A no-brainer to ensure you keep your brain intact.
- Don’t assume the best: Be cautious around vehicles, even those that are parked. Ride slowly, leave some clearance, and pull over to the side if you feel uneasy.
- Avoid sidewalks: A sidewalk may seem safer for cyclists, but its name contains the word “walk” for a reason: it’s for sneakers, not tires. You could end up running over some toes!
- Never ride against traffic: Although walking pedestrians often walk against the flow of traffic, your bike should follow it. It’s against the law to do otherwise.
- Don’t pass vehicles: It might entice you to skip the few cars in front of you at a stop light, but don’t do it. Drivers may not see you when attempting to merge or cross over your lane.
- Stick to low-speed streets: Cyclists are forbidden from riding on the highway—if you’re on I-75 S, something’s wrong—for obvious reasons. This isn’t the right place to test the tortoise-hare theory.
- Get the right accessories: A cycling enthusiast is nothing without accessories. Bring along the essentials, like a portable air pump, chargeable headlight, multitool, and replacement chains and tire tubes.
- Get the cool accessories: Living in the 21st century sure can have its perks. Along with those cycling essentials, bring along the high-tech gizmos, like turn-signal gloves, a phone mount for navigation, self-cleaning cycling sunglasses, or a USB charger for bikes.
Of course, if you want to abstain from interacting with cars while you cycle, take a trip to a secluded trail or Dayton bike race. Hook up the bike to your car’s bike rack or SUV’s crossbars, fill up the water bottle, and hit the road.
Don’t have the right car accessory to secure your bike? We can help! Our Dayton Honda dealers can order and install authentic Honda accessories, bike racks, and roof racks for most new and old Honda models, including the Pilot, CR-V, and Odyssey. Just find your nearest Miami Valley Honda Dealers location to speak with an expert and place an order.
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