How to protect pedestrians and cyclists as a road user

As a driver you have a lot of things to think about, your car insurance, the functionality of your car, your tax, nct, the list goes on. Driving can be tough because you have to have your eye on the ball at all times. Unfortunately, that’s the name of the game when it comes to being on the road. In recent years, accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists have been brought to the forefront of the discussion. Walking and cycling are transport models that are relatively unprotected on the road. With hundreds of cars, narrow roads and bends in existence all over Ireland, it makes these road users even more vulnerable. As a driver, it’s very important to be vigilant when it comes to pedestrians and cyclists on Irish roads. If you want some more tips, then read below:

1.Know your road rules with regard to pedestrians.

Remember that book, CD or app that you memorised to get that slip of paper that allows you to drive? Well in that there was a number of rules regarding pedestrians. After being on the road for a long time, driving experience and common sense kicks in, however sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have our minds refreshed on the basic rules of the road.

With regard to pedestrians, there are multiple scenarios where they have the right of way on the road. If you are driving and a pedestrian is already crossing a road, then they have the right of way. Similarly, if you pull up to a zebra crossing and a pedestrian is waiting to cross then they have the right of way. Additionally, if you see a pedestrian at a pelican crossing and the amber light is flashing, then it is your responsibility as a driver to halt and wait for the pedestrian to safely cross the road before continuing.

2.Reduce your speed in busy areas.

If you’re driving through an area that is likely to be populated with pedestrians then it is imperative to reduce your speed and braking distance. Pedestrians can be unpredictable for drivers. Often times they seem to come out of nowhere because they are obstructed from view, ie. Emerging from between two parked cars.  By reducing your speed in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present in large numbers you are taking the necessary precaution to protect them. By reducing your speed and your breaking distances you will also improve your visibility which is another vital element in being a safe driver.

3.Be mindful of smaller pedestrians too.

While adult pedestrians can be difficult to monitor as a road user, children can be even more difficult. They dart around cars and play in areas that see heavy traffic. They also don’t always possess the knowledge needed to be safe around cars.

As a driver you need to be extra attentive and slow when frequenting areas where there are kids present. When approaching a schools, parks and housing estates it’s crucial to be vigilant. When reversing, children sometimes aren’t visible in the rear view window, so that’s an additional fact to bear in mind.

4.Know your road rules with regard to cyclists.

The rule of the road state that you must share the road with cyclists. The best way to be cautious of cyclists on the road is to check your mirrors and blind spots regularly. Its especially important to check them when you are changing lanes or reversing, stopping and turning, when a cycle lane ends and merges with a road and when your opening your door to exit your vehicle.

5.Leave at least 1m when overtaking a cyclist.

The RSA has asked drivers to leave at least 1-1.5 metres between a car and cyclist when they are over taking.  Be extra cautious when you are over taking groups of cyclists who are riding two or more abreast.

Remember to never overtake a cyclist as you approach a junction, if you plan to turn left. Similarly if you are crossing traffic to turn right watch out for cyclists travelling towards you at the opposite side of the road.

6. Watch out for cyclists when you open your door.

‘Dooring’ is the term given to the instance where a cyclist crashes into the open door of a car. Get into the habit of using ‘the Dutch Reach’ when you get out of your car. This safety technique is ingrained in driving practices in The Netherlands and involves the driver opening their door using their far hand (so, in Ireland, their left hand), forcing them to look in their mirror and over their shoulder before exiting. It’s a simple technique, but it saves lives.

It's vital to respect other road users and to get a handle on safety procedures as a driver. At insuremycars.ie, we want to ensure that you are as safe as possible on the road. If you want great insurance cover at a great price. Reach out to us today!

 

 

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