What can DRIVERS do? PDF Print E-mail

Sharing the Road: Motorists


Drive Cautiously:
> Reduce speed when encountering cyclists
> Don't tailgate, especially in bad weather
> Recognize hazards cyclists may face and give them space

Yield to Cyclists:
> Bicycles are considered vehicles and in most jurisdictions are prohibited from riding on the sidewalk
> Cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way
> Allow extra time for cyclists to get through intersections

Be Considerate:
> Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections
> Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists
> Look for cyclists when opening doors

Pass with Care:
> When passing, leave at least three feet between you and a cyclist
> Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass
> Check over your shoulder before moving back

Watch for Children:
> Children on bicycles are often unpredictable
> Expect the unexpected and slow down
> Don't expect children to know traffic laws
> Because of their size children can be harder to see
> Watch for children on bicycles crossing intersections from sidewalks



  • Realize that you're in a 4000 pound car, and they're on a 20 pound bicycle.   
  • Realize that most cyclists want to be proper stewards of cycling and they're working to earn your respect.  Please don't assume all cyclists behave as those few that misrepresent the cycling population.
  • Realize that cyclists should not ride in narrow shoulders because of debris, such as glass or dead animals, potholes, cracks in pavement, manholes, drains, and other hazards.   This is also a likely spot for a cyclits to get a flat tire.
  • Because they're safer, cyclists absolutely LOVE bike lanes but they need more.  Encourage your council person or city planners to include as many safe places for cyclists to get from point A to point B as possible.

A little perspective from a Tennessee cyclist: 

  • Examine most sidewalks around Tennessee, if there even are any.  Telephone poles occupy the center of the sidewalk.  Crossing drives cause serious obstacles.  Get out and walk down a sidewalk and you'll see why it's not a decent place for a fast moving cyclist to ride.
  • Tennessee soil in parts of the state does not absorb water readily. Therefore, roads are constructed up high, and deep ditches are required to the side to drain the water.  Farmers tend to place barbwire as close to the road, which means in most cases the bottom of the ditch.  If you run a cyclist off the road into these ditches with your car, they're going to the hospital.
Did you know that Tennessee state roads are required to include bicycle/pedestrian accommodations when built or significantly reengineered?  Cyclists want to stay out of motor vehicles' way.