The relationship between bicyclists and motorists has not always been smooth. Bicyclists often feel that motorists don’t see or crowd them, which can create dangerous situations for cyclists. And, motorists believe that bicyclists ride like they own the road, which impedes vehicles and creates very dangerous situations when bicyclists fail to heed stop signs and red lights.
Both groups have valid complaints. But there is a common denominator – both want everyone on the road to be safe.
What not everyone may know is that bicyclists and motorists, with a few exceptions, obey the same rules when traversing Massachusetts’ roads. Bicyclists must obey all street signs and signals, including stop signs; and motorists should understand that bicyclists have a right to ride, including two-abreast, down the entire width of the road lane, unless the bicyclists “unnecessarily obstruct” motorists.
As Boston.com notes, the main exceptions for following driving rules include:
- Bicyclists can signal turns and stops through hand signals
- Bicyclists can pass on the right
- Bicyclists have the options of riding on public sidewalks, when permitted
- Bicyclists are forbidden from riding on state highways
While motorists need to be aware of bicycles on the road, all bicyclists should take a proactive approach to their safety, including:
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear bright colored clothing, especially at night
- Ride predictably so cars can anticipate moves
- Be aware of surroundings such as driveways, alleys and opening car-doors
Even when bicyclists take every safety precaution, the risk of being injured while riding is always present. Bicycle accidents involving inattentive motorists can have devastating consequences for bicyclists.
If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a bicycle, an experienced attorney can help you seek the compensation you may be entitled.