Ten Tips for Drivers and Cyclists
1. Cyclists Need Space
Drivers: When passing a cyclist at city traffic speeds, keep at least one metre between you and the cyclist. At higher speeds and when road conditions are slippery, increase distance between you and the cyclist. Give extra space and be prepared to stop around children on bikes. Remember cyclists are more vulnerable than drivers - they are not surrounded by a heavy protective cage. Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the bike in front of you.
Cyclists: Ride in a straight line. Be predictable to other road users. Proper lane position can also create a space cushion and an escape route.
2. Parked Car Doors
Drivers: Check carefully for cyclists approaching from rear. Before you open your door, check your mirrors, look behind you, open the door a crack to check before opening door to exit, and then promptly close door. Don’t forget to check your blind spots. Cyclists may be riding faster than you think.
HTA 165(a) Opening door of vehicle on highway. Fine: $45-$180.
HTA 165(b) Leaving door of vehicle open. Fine: $100-$400
Cyclists: Avoid the "door prize" you don’t want to win. Make sure that your handlebars will not hit any opening vehicle door. Check for vehicle occupants by looking in side view mirrors and for back of heads. Remember that passengers exit vehicles from the right side too.
3. Bike Lanes
Drivers: Bike lanes are for the exclusive use of cyclists. They are striped lanes marked with a diamond and large bike symbol on the pavement. Do not drive, park or stand in a bike lane. Do not block cyclists forcing them into moving traffic. Yield to cyclists in bike lanes before crossing bike lanes to access designated parking to the right of bike lanes, or driveways.
Cyclists: Ride in the same direction as other traffic. Where there are vehicles parked on the right, you are encouraged to ride on the left side of the lane to avoid parked car doors and emerging pedestrians. You are not required to ride in a bike lane.
Drivers: The Sharrows symbol indicates roadways that require your special attention and patience. When passing a cyclist, make sure to leave at least one metre of space between you and the cyclist; more at higher speeds. On narrow roads, please slow down, provide a safety space cushion between you and the cyclist, and drive behind the cyclist as you would a slower moving vehicle. Pass only when it is legal and safe for you and the cyclist. Change lanes to pass. Do not attempt to share a narrow lane with a cyclist.
Cyclists: Sharrows provide a guide to cyclist road position – i.e. the centre of the Sharrow symbol. Sharrows support predictable straight line riding habits and cyclist safety by riding farther from the curb away from road edge hazards. Like bike lanes, you are not required to travel on them.
5. Cyclists Have Unexpected Obstacles
Drivers: Be mindful. Cyclists have many road obstacles with which to deal. Examples include potholes, grates, gravel, and cracks. Be prepared to leave extra space.
Cyclists: Look ahead for obstacles on the road. Check the way is clear and signal before moving sideways on the road
6. Cyclists May Be Going Faster Than You Think: The Left Cross
Drivers: Look out for cyclists when making a left turn crossing oncoming traffic. Cyclists are more difficult to see. Cyclists coming towards you may be going faster than you think – sometimes cyclists can travel faster than cars. Yield to cyclists and other traffic before making a left turn.
Cyclists: Try to establish eye contact with oncoming left turning drivers. Be seen. Do not ride on the sidewalk. Learn more advanced collision avoidance handling skills which are taught in an advanced CAN-BIKE course.
7. Cyclists May Be Going Faster Than You Think: The Right Hook
Drivers: Cyclists travel at different speeds and often faster than you think! Before you intend to make a right turn, look out for cyclists on your right side. Slow down and wait for the cyclist to pass, unless it’s safe to overtake the cyclist and turn right without causing the cyclist to have to brake or worse. Allow for extra room between your vehicle and the cyclist. Do not cut off the cyclist!
Cyclists: Do not ride on the sidewalk. Check over your left shoulder as you approach an intersection. Don’t pass a right turning vehicle on their right. Learn more advanced collision avoidance handling skills which are taught in an advanced CAN-BIKE course.
Drivers: Be mindful. Horns are loud and can scare a cyclist. Honk your horn when necessary.
Cyclists: Ring your bell to let other users of the road know that you exist.
9. Expect cyclists
Drivers: More and more people are cycling in wet, cool weather and at night. Be on the lookout for cyclists at all times. Just because you don’t cycle in some conditions doesn’t mean others don’t cycle in those conditions. Don’t be surprised.
Cyclists: Be seen. Ride in a safe lane position. Signal. Wear bright and light coloured clothing. Use your lights and reflectors.
10. Highway Traffic Act applies to both drivers and cyclists
Drivers and cyclists generally have similar rights and duties under the Newfoundland and Labrador HTA. For example, HTA 129(1) states that “Except as provided in this section, a person riding a bicycle upon a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver.”, and then lists nine specific differences. HTA laws relating to traffic officers, signs, signals, yielding, etc generally apply to both drivers and cyclists.