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Sharing The Road With Bicyclists: Drive Smart Dallas

Attorney Brian Brunson - Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer

Discussing the dynamics of sharing the road between motorists and bicyclists is crucial. Let’s delve into factors that contribute to misunderstandings and hazardous behavior:

  • What stops cyclists from riding as close to the road’s edge as possible?
  • Why don’t groups of bicyclists consistently ride in single or double file to minimize lane occupation?
  • What leads some bicyclists to disregard rights-of-way, cycling against traffic, or on sidewalks?

Navigating shared road infrastructure can be challenging. Limited space on some roadways may cause drivers and cyclists to feel like they’re battling for territory.

Embrace road-sharing.

It’s useful to view bicycles as slow-moving vehicles: They possess equal rights on the road, including the entitlement to occupy an entire lane when insufficient space exists for both a car and a bike to safely coexist. At intersections, drivers must yield to bicyclists as they would for fellow motorists.
Maintain a three-foot distance.

Approximately two-thirds of bicycle-related fatalities in the U.S. occur in non-intersection areas. This fact has prompted 32 states—including Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah—to mandate a minimum of three feet between motor vehicles and bicyclists when overtaking, even if the cyclist is within a designated bike lane. When driving above 25 MPH or during inclement weather, allow even more room. In Texas, drivers must change lanes when passing a cyclist if multiple lanes are available in the same direction.

Be vigilant about blind spots.

Cyclists can easily go unnoticed. Recheck your mirrors during lane changes and turns, as well as before opening your door post-parking. Always use turn signals prior to changing lanes or turning so that cyclists have ample time to react and avoid potential blind spots.

Recognize hand signals.

Many cyclists employ hand gestures to indicate upcoming turns, merges, or stops—know how to identify them to respond accordingly.

Refrain from honking.

Recall how jarring it was the last time someone honked their horn at you? Now, imagine experiencing that noise at close range. Honking may startle cyclists, causing them to swerve into traffic or off the road.

Pay special attention to children.

Young cyclists can be erratic, as their motor skills and decision-making abilities are not yet fully matured. Exercise caution around schools and residential neighborhoods, and be mindful when reversing out of driveways.

Pay attention to the bike lane.

Avoid driving, stopping, or parking in designated bike lanes, even if briefly passing a stopped or turning vehicle. In California, it’s permitted for motorists to enter the bike lane within 200 feet of an intersection when making a right turn. The solid white line will become a dashed white line to indicate when it’s allowed. Ensure that you double-check for cyclists in the lane before merging, as they have the right of way. Wait for them to pass safely before merging into the bike lane.

Adopt the Dutch Reach technique.

When drivers or passengers open a door onto a bike lane or roadway, it can cause bicyclists to crash into it or dangerously swerve to avoid collision. This scenario, commonly called “dooring,” can be fatal but is easily preventable. Before opening your vehicle’s door, check the side mirror and look over your shoulder for any approaching cyclists. Practice the Dutch Reach by opening the door slowly with your far hand (your right hand if you’re the driver), ensuring that you can clearly see that the path is clear before exiting. William Van Tassel, manager of AAA Driver Training Programs, explains that using the Dutch Reach “helps drivers open the door in a way that does not put cyclists at risk.”

Exercise patience around cyclists.

Cyclists can only travel at certain speeds. When needing to pass one, wait for a safe opportunity and refrain from tailgating. Shah emphasizes, “We all have places to go. Regardless of our mode of transportation, if we slow down and respect one another we can all get there safely.”


Named one of the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Dallas” by Expertise.com, Brian Brunson is Dallas personal injury attorney who is dedicated to helping clients who have suffered a car, truck, or motorcycle injury through the negligent or wrongful conduct of other drivers. In addition, his professionalism is unmatched and the firms’ client reviews speak for themselves.

We proudly serve the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas, our office supports the legal needs of a wide variety of clients. Let the Law Office of Brian Brunson be your advocate in your time of need and help you put your life back together. If we can’t win or settle your case, you don’t pay a dime! We know it can be daunting to take that first step after you’ve been hurt. Contact Brian Brunson today via email or call us toll-free at 1-844-41-WRECK. We can help, when no one else will.

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