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Sharing the Road is a Driver's Responsibility


November 17, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (03-165)
For more information, contact:
Patrice O’Hara
KDOT Bureau of Traffic Safety: (785) 296-3756

Sharing the Road is a Driver's Responsibility

As drivers of automobiles, we are required to share the road with a variety of others using alternative means of transportation – everything from feather-light ten-speed bicycles to ponderous 18-wheel semi trailers.

That makes driving even more of a challenge, and highlights the need to always be aware and focused on driving when behind the wheel.

The Bureau of Traffic Safety of the Kansas Department of Transportation encourages drivers to observe the following tips as they share the road with others:

Bicycles

  • Give bicyclists the benefit of the doubt, whether or not the cyclist is obeying traffic regulations. Bicylists are extremely vulnerable, and any collision between a car and a bicyclist is likely to cause serious injury to the bicyclist.
  • As you approach a bicyclist from behind, slow down. Bicyclists sometimes have to swerve to avoid road hazards such as glass or gravel that are inconsequential to cars. Young bicyclists also tend to make unexpected changes in direction.
  • When passing a cyclist, allow at least four feet of clearance, and don’t return to your original lane until you can see the cyclist in your rear view mirror.
  • If you're preparing to turn right and a cyclist is riding between you and the side of the road, be sure the rider knows your intention and is not in your path.
  • If you park on a roadway, make sure to check for bicyclists before opening your car door.

Trucks

  • Just as bicylists are vulnerable to automobiles, automobile drivers are extremely vulnerable to trucks. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in crashes involving large trucks, the occupants of a car, usually the driver, sustain 78 percent of fatalities.
  • Give trucks a "wide berth" and know a trucker driver's "blind spots." If you as an automobile driver can't see the driver's side-view mirror of a truck, the truck driver can't see your car.
  • When passing, wait until you can see both truck headlights in your rear view mirror before you pull back into the same lane of traffic the truck is in.
  • Never cross behind a truck that is backing up.
  • Avoid cutting in front of other vehicles, as that could cause emergency braking by other vehicles, including large trucks, in the vicinity. A fully-loaded semi trailer traveling at 55 mph takes almost three hundred feet to stop.

For more information about the Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry program contact the KDOT Bureau of Traffic Safety at 785-296-3756 or on the web at www.ksdot.org and click on the green safety button.