Look Twice for Bikes
Cascade Bicycle Club launched the "Look Twice for Bikes" campaign in early 2013 to promote looking out for people riding bicycles on roadways. Some of the most common collisions between cars and bikes are preventable by looking out for each other.
By looking out for bikes, you are supporting a livable community where people riding bicycles—your friends and neighbors—can get where they need to go. Your attentive driving practices make our roadways safer, friendlier places.
What can drivers do?
As a driver, you will encouter people riding bicycles on the roads. Look Twice for Bikes when you are...
Opening your car door
Depending on how you are parked, your door may swing open into the pathway of traffic. If a person riding a bike is passing by, they could be harmed if the door hits them or causes them to swerve into traffic to avoid hitting your door.
- Did you know that it’s your legal responsibility to make sure the roadway is clear before opening your car door?
- Before opening your door, look twice behind you to ensure there are no bicyclists approaching.
- An easy way to remember this is to open the driver’s side door with your right hand. As you turn your body to reach for the door handle, you’re perfectly positioned to double-check your side mirror for approaching traffic.
- Avoid riding in the door zone by giving yourself a little more than an arms-length from parked vehicles.
- Scan ahead for taillights and people’s heads in parked cars indicating that the driver might be ready to pull out or exit the vehicle.
- Note your lane position. Where you position yourself within the lane depends on several factors: lane width, your speed relative to vehicle traffic and intersections.
- In most urban areas, the best place to ride in general traffic is three feet from the right edge of the lane. The right edge may be a curb, a soft shoulder, parked cars or moving vehicles. This position:
- is visible from both following and oncoming traffic.
- puts you farther from the "door zone" along parked cars.
- allows you to ride in a predictable, straight line.
- creates room for you to maneuver around rocks, potholes and storm drains.
- is legal in all states.
The most common cause of a car-bike collision is when a driver is making a turning movement. There are many different factors grabbing people’s attention as they maneuver through an intersection. Make sure you look twice.
- When turning right, signal, check your mirror AND look over your shoulder to make sure no one on a bike is in your blind spot.
- When turning left, look carefully for oncoming bikes as well as cars. People on bikes can sometimes be less obvious if they obscured by large vehicles. Always signal before turning, and yield to oncoming bicycle traffic, which has the legal right of way.
- Most crashes between motorists and bicyclists occur during turns. Look twice at intersections.
- Occupy the center of the lane at intersections.
- Look for a car’s turn signal. If the car in front of you is making a right turn, yield or pass on the left if it is safe.
- If an oncoming vehicle is making a left, make eye contact with the driver.
- You can also increase your visibility by using lights and bright clothing.
- Signal your intent to turn.
Approaching a crosswalk
Children often ride bicycles on sidewalks to get around, until they have the skills and knowledge to ride on their neighborhood streets.
The legality of riding a bicycle on the sidewalk varies from city to city. In Seattle, riding on a sidewalk is permitted. Even where allowed, it is not necessarily safe. In fact, riding on the sidewalk is a significant cause of car/bike crashes. If you must ride on the sidewalk, ride at a walking pace, yield to pedestrians, and either stop or yield at driveways and intersections.
When a person riding a bicycle enter a crosswalk at a fast pace, they are at risk of being hit by a driver who isn’t looking for them.
- When driving through a crosswalk, especially at active trail crossings, look twice and yield the right-of-way to bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Slow down when approaching a crosswalk.
- Don’t assume a driver has seen you. Even if a driver is looking for you, it can be challenging for them to see you until you are nearly in the crossing.
- Look left, right, left just like a pedestrian would.
Putting it into practice
- Order a window decal to remind yourself to Look Twice for Bikes.
- Put a sticker on your car to remind others to Look Twice for Bikes.
Brush up on your urban riding skills in one of our many classes. Whether you're new to bicycling or have been riding for years, a class will help you ride on the road with skill and confidence.