Are drivers ‘dehumanizing’ bicycle riders around the world?

Some worrying research has emerged about the way that drivers are consciously being careless, or worse, about the safety of bicyclists.

One of our trainees on a ‘silver’ advanced driving course at Advanced Drivers of America had to brake to avoid colliding with this cyclist who, without either a signal or a “life saver” glance over his shoulder, whipped out into a live-traffic lane from the bicycle lane in order to pass the woman in black — not a good way to endear oneself to drivers! (Copyright image, 2018.)

Research:

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A Child’s Critical Injuries Through Not Wearing a Cycle Helmet

This is just one fine example of the countless excellent and usually unsung tasks done by on-duty and off-duty police officers, every single day of the year.  It has been posted here with full permission from its author, Temporary Sergeant Karen Stanton, whose important goal is to highlight the crucial importance of cyclists wearing helmets.  If you are not convinced, check out the image of the boy’s head scan, below.

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Safe Cycling is a Two-Way Street

Regrettably, there are many things that drivers frequently do that make things very unsafe for people on bicycles, but of course that isn’t the full story.

A photograph of bicyclists who sensibly are in conspicuous clothing, but only one is being wise enough to wear a safety helmet.
Cyclists who sensibly are in conspicuous clothing, but only one is being wise enough to wear a safety helmet. (Copyright image.)

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For Bicyclists, Wearing a Yellow Reflective Jacket Cuts Injuries by up to 55%

Bicycles are involved in many crashes, injuries and deaths, and there should be a focus on preventing these events from happening.

With support from the Danish foundation TrygFonden, the Traffic Research Group at Aalborg University has completed the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the safety effect of high-visibility bicycle clothing.

Photo of a cyclist standing out from the crowd, in a bright yellow safety jacket.
Cyclist’s Yellow Safety Jacket. Photo used here by permission of Harry Lahrmann, Associate Professor at Aalborg University.  Photographer: Tor Asbjørn Thirslund

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The International Cycling Safety Conference is in the USA for the First Time

Making the streets safer for cyclists and promoting cycling for all are goals of the International Cycling Safety Conference, to be held Sept. 21-22 at the University of California, Davis, Conference Center.

Photo of cyclists riding correctly on the left in Britain.
Cyclists riding correctly on the left in Britain. Copyright image.

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Do the ‘Dutch Reach’ to Avoid Injuring Bicyclists in ‘Dooring’ Incidents

The attached video shows how to reduce a senseless and completely avoidable type of crash that can badly injure or even kill cyclists, in something known as “dooring.” Do what’s known as “the Dutch reach!”
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Of course, bicyclists can also help themselves by always wearing cycle helmets and remaining alert, undistracted and observant.

Bicycling Deaths in the USA Increased by 12.2 Percent in 2015

“BICYCLING DEATHS are on the rise [in the USA], a new report says, as is the average age of the victims…

Photograph of a car passing a bicycle at a bad location on a mountain curve.
Cyclists are often passed badly by reckless or unthinking drivers.  Copyright image.

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An Insight into the Vital Subject of Good Observations when Driving

The latest “THINK!” advert gives a small but important insight into the proper use of observations when driving.

Far too many drivers simply gaze ahead of their vehicle while driving  without actually noticing everything they should and being alert to all the things that potentially could go wrong.  Worse than that, many drivers literally do just gaze at the back of the vehicle they are following, reliant on the brake lights of that lead vehicle to trigger a response in themselves.  But either way, drivers who do these things are throwing away a lot of safety.

Photograph of an urban road with multiple dangers such as pedestrians, cyclists, static cars with their doors open, etc.
The speed limit sign is not the only thing that needs to be seen when you are driving! This image is from the “THINK!” campaign in Britain but applies in every country.

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Calling All Cyclists, It’s Not Just Drivers Who Get Distracted!

To coincide with this year’s Tour de France cycle race, the THINK! Road Safety team have issued a timely reminder that it’s not just drivers who get distracted and cause crashes, people on bicycles do, too!

From the THINK! Road Safety team.

As a footnote:  Congratulations to British rider Chris Froome for his fourth overall TdF  victory today, and his third win in succession.

Three Feet is Too Close to pass a Bicycle – See the UK Way!

Undercover police officers in Birmingham, England, posing as cyclists, caught a trucker who has becomes one of first motorists in Britain to be prosecuted under a new law for driving too close to a bicycle.

The 60-year-old wagon driver was fined  £1,038 [U.S. $1350], including costs, and also got five penalty points on his driving license — a penalty which is undoubtedly intended to reflect the significant danger caused by the offence in question.

In several American states, recent laws have mandated a minimum gap of just three feet when a motor vehicle is passing a person riding a bicycle but other countries have laws requiring a 1.5 metre gap — in other words 36 inches in the USA versus 59 inches in other countries… 62 percent more safety space.

This image is the wrong way around for American viewers who, of course, drive on the right, but this gives some idea of where the bicyclist must be allowed to ride (i.e. not in the gutter) and how much gap is truly needed for safety when a motor vehicle is passing. (Five feet is a very close equivalent to the 1.5 metres shown here.)  Photo:  Daily Mail; used here under ‘fair use’, for safety purposes.

Will having just three feet of space be acceptable?  It is surely obvious that having a large vehicle, maybe even something as big as a semi-tractor-trailer whizzing past just three feet away will at the very least be unnerving, and given the buffeting of the air that can be created by a large vehicle, it’s not hard to conclude that it could be risky, too.  And then there’s the question of what happens when a driver is incapable of accurately judging a gap of three feet.  There is clearly and indeed most literally not much room for error.

And the second question  is:  How exactly is this law going to be actively enforced in the states in question?  Or should the question be: IS this law going to be actively enforced in the states in question?

One thing is for certain, and that is that I am very curious about how the gap is going to be measured, from one state (or country) to another,