This blog is a continuing series of driving behaviors that are dangerous to cyclists. A driver turning or pulling out in front of a cyclist – often occurs because the driver simply does not realize how fast the cyclist is moving. Of course, there also may be an element of the driver not caring if the cyclist is close because obviously, given the fact that the driver is protected inside a much heavier and larger vehicle, it’s the cyclist, not the driver, that is going to get hurt.
Typically, these situations occur when a cyclist has the right of way and the motorist pulls out from a stop at a side street. When the motorist makes a left hand turn in front of the cyclist, if a collision occurs, the cyclist may well end up flying over the vehicle and breaking a collarbone.
These situations also occur when the motorist is traveling in the opposite direction of the cyclist and makes a left hand turn in front of the cyclist. This can be extremely dangerous, especially if the cyclist is traveling downhill at a high rate of speed. At 40 mph, a speed that many cyclists can achieve while traveling even down a fairly moderate downhill grade, a cyclist is moving at just shy of 20 yards a second. Many times a motorist that pulls out simply does not realize how fast the bicycle is moving, and thus does not realize how dangerous the driving maneuver is.
Obviously, while on a bicycle it is appropriate for the cyclist to be dressed so that the motorist can see him, and further, the cyclist should always be looking down the road for motorists stopped at side streets and for motorists who appear to be slowing to make a left hand turn.