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Use driving experience to make the roads safer

Article posted: 23/04/2012 16:32:55
Use driving experience to make the roads saferUse driving experience to make the roads safer

Most of us bikers also get behind the wheel of a car for several days a week or even hop on a bicycle from time to time and think nothing of it.

But IAM Drive & Survive head of training, Simon Elstow, suggests that we use the knowledge of what it feels like to be in control of different vehicles on the road to help us change the way we drive for the better.

Knowing that a motorist is getting too close behind your or not looking before changing lane makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, should make you stop and think before doing these things yourself.

This is especially true when you're on four wheels instead of two.

"Sharing the road is an inevitable part of using it, as is the frustration that sometimes goes with that. But most road users don't only use one mode of transport, so use that knowledge to be a bit more patient and understand the needs and risks of other road users," said Mr Elstow.

So when you are in a car, remember how much more vulnerable you feel with just leathers and a helmet to protect you.

Mr Elstow advises keeping a constant eye out for cyclists and motorcyclists. Use your mirrors – that's what they're there for. This will ensure you see them in plenty of time when they are coming up behind you.

Just as you hate taking evasive action when someone pulls out unexpectedly, make sure you check your mirrors before turning right and changing lane. Braking hard could cause a biker to lose control.

On a similar note, it's important to give clear and early signals for what you are doing - although this is important whether you're on the bike or in the car. This allows other road users to adjust their own plans in plenty of time.

One of the best things about being on a bike is being able to cut through a traffic jam, when other motorists are likely to be stuck for hours.

But we all know jealousy breeds resentment and we've all come across a belligerent driver who wants everyone to be in the same miserable boat.

So when you're in a car, avoid impeding the progress of motorbikes – however annoying it is – and when you're on the bike do all you can not to rub it in! Definitely no sniggering!

When on your bike or in the car you need to keep an eye out for cyclists, who are even more at risk in an accident.

It's the same whether you are on two wheels or four, you have an engine and travelling at speed so are more likely to do injury than be injured.

Never overtake a cyclist and then turn left across their front wheel, and ensure that you overtake slowly and with plenty of room.

"Passing a cyclist quickly might feel safe to you, but it doesn't to the cyclist and the closer you are the more this is the case," IAM Drive and Survive said.

But its not just collisions with cyclists where bikers can be at fault – even though we are smaller on the road, it is important to drive defensively to prevent running into trouble with cars.

Position yourself on the road so that drivers can see you and when you are filtering through slow moving traffic, ensure that you keep your speed down so that you can stop or change course if you need to.

Even if a car collides with you, you could be found partially at fault if a court deems you to be travelling too fast, not driving defensively or not driving in line with the conditions.

So take care on the road and remember to treat other road users how you'd like to be treated.

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