Safety Blog: Cycling Safely Through Intersections

Earlier mention was made that intersections were the most hazardous point of any vehicle travel. Driver Training Instructors preach the mantra, “Left, Right, Left,” for students first learning to drive, and when approaching an intersection.

Cyclists are in much greater hazard at intersections. It takes at least twice as long as a motorist for a bike to travel through an intersection. That doubles the opportunity for a cyclist to be struck. Motorists look for other motorists, not bicycles. It’s been said that, “You see what you’re looking for” and motorists seldom anticipate seeing a bicyclist. Besides, a cyclist is a much smaller visible mass compared to a motor vehicle. Finally, a struck motorist will likely suffer damage to their car only, while a cyclist is almost always injured, or worse.

For all these reasons, bicyclists cannot be content with, “Left, Right, Left.” Instead must follow this pattern of 180-degree visual sweeps continuously,  all the while they are exposed in an intersection. This safety practice alone, will greatly reduce the probability of a cyclist being struck by an intersecting vehicle.

Post Author: Phil Coleman

Phil has been active with the Davis Bike Club in various roles since his move to Davis in 1996. Prior to that, Phil served in similar capacities with the Valley Spokesmen Bike Club, based in Dublin, California.