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5 tips for drivers to protect cyclists

2015-06-17 12:19

BEYOND ROAD RAGE: Symon Scot captured a group of cyclists violently attacking a volunteer in Cape Town in what appears to stem from road rage in February 2014. Image: YouTube

LONDON, England - Road rage is real everywhere, and a huge problem in South Africa where motorists seem to have no regard for cyclists.

Remember when Wheels24 reported on a group of Cape Town cyclists taking revenge on an inconsiderate driver? Or when a Jozi biker was killed in another road rage attack in February 2014?

Roadside assistance company GEM Motoring Assist – which stands for Guild of Experienced Motorists - is trying to help car drivers better understand different road user groups with various road safety tips.

The company says the safest journeys happen when everyone obeys the rules of the road.

CYCLISTS ON THE ROAD

Cycling is acknowledged as a great way to get in better shape. It’s a message that appears to be getting through to more and more people, says Gem, and figures show there has been an increase in cycling every year since 2008 .

The number of cycling crashes has also increased, and the summer months are the peak time for these crashes, when the weather is good and large numbers of cyclists are out and about, either commuting, competing or simply enjoying a leisurely ride.

Gem chief executive David Williams says: “We believe there are two really important actions drivers can take immediately to reduce the risk to themselves and to cyclists. First, to accept that we’re all on the road with the intention of trying to arrive somewhere safely. Second, to be more observant on journeys, because ‘failing to look properly’ is the most common contributory factor recorded by police in a collision involving a bicycle and another vehicle.

“By taking these actions, and by committing to a courteous driving style at all times, we will play our part in making the roads safer – for ourselves and for cyclists, who are after all much more likely to be hurt in any collision.”

FIVE TOP TIPS

Remember above all that everyone on the road is trying to get somewhere safely. Do everything you can to play your part and you’ll be contributing to a safer road environment.
Good observation is key, especially at junctions. This, combined with patience, helps ensure safer journeys for drivers and riders. As drivers, we should try to defuse tension, not increase it.
Don’t stress when a cyclist performs a risky or illegal manoeuvre, and certainly don’t make any attempt to rebuke someone whose riding behaviour offends you. And don’t assume that if one cyclist does something dangerous, then all cyclists do it. 
4 Cyclists are entitled to the full lane of a road, not just the extreme left part. They need to steer around hazards such as potholes or drains, so be sure to anticipate this and give the space they need to stay safe.
Give cyclists plenty of space when you pass – ideally as much space as you would give when overtaking another car. Avoid squeezing past or starting an overtaking manoeuvre when you can’t see far enough ahead to know you can complete it safely.


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