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Motorcyclists, Cyclists, Mopeds, Horses

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 21 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Motorcyclists Cyclists Mopeds Horses

Sometimes as car drivers, we forget that the road is used by other people too. Bikers, cyclists, moped riders, horse riders - these are just a few, and they're all entitled to use the road.

So rather than get all annoyed because you're stuck behind someone doing 15mph on a moped, read these hints and tips to making our roads a nicer place for everyone:

Motorcycles:

There are a lot more cars, vans and trucks on the road than there are motorcycles, and lots of car drivers just ignore them. The sad truth is that every year thousands of people are killed or injured on the UK's roads and those who ride motorcycles suffer disproportionately - those riding a bike are 40 times more likely to be killed than someone driving a car. So let's try and bring those figures down.
  • Remember that a motorbike can look like it's further away than it actually is - this is because they're so small. Due to this, it can be hard to work out what speed they are traveling at and they often seem to be moving fast than they actually are. If you're not sure, take it easy, and assume it's closer rather than further away.

  • Because of its small status, a bike can sneak into a car driver's blind spots (to the side, door pillars etc) or it can be masked by outside objects - like fences or trees. Make sure the road is clear of motorcycles if you are turning into a junction or changing lanes.

  • Bikers slow down initially by letting the throttle down gently, rather than hitting a brake as car drivers do - so don't expect to see a brake light every time a bike begins to slow. Allow more following distance for them - around 3-4 seconds is standard, but judge it for yourself and always err on the side of caution.

  • Bikers will often adjust position within a lane so that they can be seen more easily and to minimise the chances of road debris, passing vehicles and wind throwing them off course. Although you'll always get the odd exception to the rule, most bikers will change lane for a purpose rather than just to show off, or to hog the lane.

  • Bikes can manoeuvre well at slower speeds and with good road conditions - but you shouldn't expect a motorcyclist to be able to dodge out of the way - don't put them in that position.

  • Most importantly, when you see a motorcyclist on the road - See it as the person riding the bike, rather than the bike itself.

Cyclists:

  • You should always reduce speed when encountering a cyclist. It's easier for them to lose balance, especially if startled by a car hurtling past them.

  • Push-bikes are considered vehicles, so give them the appropriate right of way and treat them with the same respect and consideration that you would give to any other driver on the road.

  • Give them more time when crossing junctions, or turning. Getting impatient with them isn't going to help anyone, or make them go any faster.

  • When passing a cyclist, give them as much room as you can. Wait until it's safe to pass them and leave 3 feet at least between your car and the cyclist.

  • Keep your eyes peeled because cyclists are not always the easiest thing to see. Although there are many sensible cyclists, just like drivers, there are always the odd ones that pay no attention to safety whatsoever - and jump onto a bike with no protective or reflective clothing, and don't care about the rules of the road.

  • The same goes with children. Expect the unexpected with them. Be careful of your actions and don't assume that they are road savvy.

  • Pay special attention when turning, reversing, or opening car doors. You'd be amazed how many cyclists suffer injury when car doors are opened into their path.

Mopeds, Horses and other slow moving traffic:

If a moped is of the fast moving variety (50mph+), you should use exactly the same caution and technique as described above, for motorcyclists. If the moped is the more common, slower kind, follow the rules for cyclists.

If you come across a horse rider on a road, follow these tips:

  • Slow down and pass very carefully, make sure that the horse and rider have a lot of room.

  • Don't beep at it, rev your engine, or go zooming past it.

  • If the horse and rider are on a narrow road or bridge, slow down and stop if necessary until it is safe to overtake.

  • If the horse is scared, or appears frightened, do not overtake. Pull over and stop until the rider has regained control of the animal and calmed it down.

  • If passing at night, dip your headlights.

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