Share the Road With Cyclists

In the eyes of the law, bicycles are vehicles, just like cars, trucks, and motorcycles.[1] However, since they’re much slower than cars, it can be tough to figure out how to drive around them or when passing is okay. By keeping an eye out for bikes as you drive, you can keep yourself and the cyclists around you safe to avoid dangerous situations and crashes.


General Safety

  1. Keep an eye out for bike traffic. Bicyclists are allowed to ride on any road that cars can drive on, which means there’s always a chance a bike could be around. When you’re driving, don’t forget to look for cyclists as well as other cars and vehicles.
    • Legally, bikes have to ride in the same direction that traffic is going. However, there is a small chance that a cyclist could be heading against traffic, so you should always double check just in case.[2]
    • Bikes can also ride on the sidewalk, especially if there’s no bike lane.[3]
  2. Check your blind spots for cyclists when you change lanes. A bike could be right next to you and you might not even know it. Before you merge or change lanes, make sure you turn your body in the direction you’re merging to check your blind spots.[4]
    • This is especially important if you’re driving a large vehicle, like a truck or an SUV. Large vehicles have more blind spots, and bikes are small.
  3. Give cyclists at least {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} of space when you pass them. If you have a chance to pass a cyclist, make sure there isn’t any oncoming traffic. Then, give the cyclist plenty of space as you pass, and slow your car down as you go.[5]
    • If the weather is bad, give the cyclist extra room as you pass them.
    • Don’t try to pass a cyclist unless you can do it safely. If you have to speed up or get close to a cyclist to pass them, don’t do it.
  4. Slow down when you pass a cyclist. Passing cyclists can be dangerous, especially when the road is narrow. If you have the chance to pass, reduce your speed until you’re well past the cyclist.[6]
    • This is especially important during bad weather!
  5. Yield to cyclists when you make a turn. If you are turning right and there’s a bike behind you, let them pass your car before you turn. Similarly, if you’re turning left and you spot a cyclist, let them cycle through before you make your turn. Give the cyclists the right of way to avoid any accidents.[7]
    • This is why it’s so important to look for bikes around you! If you know they’re coming, you can be prepared when it comes time to turn.

Special Circumstances

  1. Use extra caution around children riding bikes. Children are less predictable than adults, and they could swerve in front of your car unexpectedly. If you’re near a child riding their bike, use extreme caution, and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice.[8]
    • You should also be aware of any children riding bikes on the sidewalk, since they could ride out into traffic suddenly.
  2. Check for cyclists before opening your car door. If you’re parked on the street, use your side mirror to look behind you before you get out of the car, especially if you’re next to a bike lane. If you see a cyclist approaching, let them pass your car before you open the door.[9]
    • Opening your door in front of a cyclist can knock them over or make them swerve into traffic.
  3. Stay behind a cyclist if it isn’t safe to pass them. If you end up behind a cyclist and there’s no room to go around them, the best thing to do is stay behind them. The cyclist will move over when it’s safe, and you can pass them when there’s no traffic coming and you can give them a wide berth.[10]
    • Trying to pass a cyclist on a narrow road is dangerous. When in doubt, don’t pass.
  4. Change lanes to pass cyclists if you can. If you’re on a road that has more than 1 lane in one direction, move over before you pass a cyclist. That way, you can give them an entire lane to themselves so you don’t get super close to each other.
    • Cyclists will usually try to stay in the right lane unless they’re avoiding dangerous objects or obstacles.
  5. Avoid honking your horn at a cyclist. Unless a cyclist is heading into a dangerous situation, you should try not to honk at them at all costs. Honking can scare a cyclist, which could cause them to swerve into oncoming traffic.[11]
    • Cyclists are allowed to use the road like a car if there isn’t a bike lane or the bike lane is blocked. You shouldn’t honk at a cyclist to get them to move over or speed up.


  • Spotting the bike is one of the most important parts to sharing the road.