Many of us only take a driver’s education course once, when we get a motor vehicle license. Even then, driver’s education classes rarely provide detailed instruction on laws and best practices regarding people on bicycles and foot. People Friendly Driving is aimed at filling in these gaps in knowledge to promote increased street safety.
We all must do our part in keeping streets and walkways safe. Bike Easy also teaches people on bikes to “drive their bike,” and follow all rules of the road, the same as a motorized vehicle. Regardless of the form of transportation, road users should always be predictable by scanning, signaling, and following all traffic patterns and laws.
Did you know that Louisiana law states that people driving a motorized vehicle at least three feet of room when passing? People driving should always wait until it is safe to pass a person on a bike. As vehicles, people on bikes are entitled to the roadways and often need to “take the lane” in instances of narrow streets, to veer left, to avoid obstructions, as well as ride outside of the “door zone.”
Common crashes involving people driving and people on bicycles are often from a vehicle passing too close, cutting in front of a person on bike with a left cross, trying to overcome a person on bike and taking a right hook turn, as well as dooring. Bike Easy teaches best practices and techniques for people driving to use such as the “Dutch reach,” also known as “look before you open.” With this maneuver, when exiting a vehicle, a person uses the opposing arm to open the car door which positions the body in a way to see if there is oncoming traffic. Practices such as “look before you open” can save lives and should be incorporated into daily driving habits.
People driving should also always follow speed limits. Speeding is also one of the main reasons for traffic fatalities. A person hit by a motorized vehicle going 20 mph has a 90% chance of surviving. When that speed increases to 40 mph, a person hit has only a 20% chance of surviving the crash.
Another vulnerable group of road users are people on foot. People operating motorized vehicles must always yield to pedestrians. Whether marked or unmarked, all sides of an intersection are crosswalks. With school having started for Orleans Parish, expect more people to be at intersections and crossing roadways on foot and bike. Oftentimes people can be obscured or hidden by parked vehicles and plants.
If you are an education coordinator, driving instructor, or safety officer for a commercial driving company, Bike Easy would love to offer our People Friendly Driving course to you for free. Please email our education programs coordinator Laura Harris (email@example.com) for more information.
See you in the streets and sidewalks!