5 tips for sharing the road: Vehicle, pedestrian, and cyclist safety
On all roads, and particularly in busy city centres, being aware of those around you is critically important to staying safe. While motorists are primarily responsible for navigating safety on the streets, it’s everyone’s responsibility to share the road.
Here are 5 tips for staying safe on our roadways:
Tip #1: Lock eyes to limit accidents
Especially important for pedestrians, making eye contact with drivers ensures that they see you and will greatly reduce the chances of a collision. Use this technique at crosswalks, intersections, and in parking lots to see and be seen.
The same goes for avoiding collisions with cyclists and other pedestrians. Looking others in the eye contributes to heightened spatial awareness and greater road safety for everyone.
Tip #2: Watch for school crossings and guards
Across the City of Toronto, you’re likely to see Carraway Safety’s Crosswalk Safety Ambassadors helping members of the community cross the street safely.
Drivers, including cyclists are required to stop and yield the roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings, and other locations where a crossing guard is present.
Tip 3: Watch for pedestrian pace and distraction
Depending upon the area in which you’re driving, cycling, or walking, you will encounter different types of pedestrians.
Keep an eye out for children moving quickly, eldery pedestrians who may not be able to react to changing traffic patterns, and distracted walkers (those on their phones, listening to music, etc.). Texting is associated with a higher rate of near misses on the roadways, so it’s important for pedestrians to kick the habit of being on their phones while walking and it’s crucial for motorists and cyclists to watch out for this behaviour.
Reacting to each of these scenarios requires awareness and responsiveness to keep us all safe.
Tip #4: Make way for cyclists
Moving faster than pedestrians but slower than motorists, cyclists and mopeds literally share the roadway with drivers and extra caution must be exercised to ensure their safety.
According to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, bicycles are considered vehicles and rules of the road apply to them. However, motorists must also do their part by keeping a minimum one-metre distance away and anticipating when cyclists may enter their space (to avoid curbside puddles, debris, entering or exiting a bike lane, etc.).
Motorists should always check all of their mirrors before changing lanes, as it’s easy for cyclists to be hidden in blind spots around your vehicle.
Tip #5: Looking out for large commercial vehicles
Transport trucks, buses, and other oversized commercial vehicles are also on our roadways — and knowing how to share the road with these giants is important.
Blind spots: Large vehicles are equally large blind spots on either side, making it difficult for the driver to see other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians. Avoid tailgating — the driver cannot see you and you cannot see the road ahead, making it difficult to stop, should the commercial vehicle suddenly brake. Remember that if you cannot see the driver’s face in their side mirror, he or she cannot see you.
Stopping distance: These larger vehicles require much more runway to brake and come to a complete stop than smaller vehicles. Do not cut them off. Not only is it discourteous, it’s dangerous.
Wide turns: When making a right turn, commercial vehicles must first swing widely left, then right to avoid going onto the curb. So if you see a large vehicle preparing to make a turn, stay back. Give these vehicles space and time to complete their turns safety. This also goes for pedestrians on sidewalks. Stay back from the edge of the curb and always check your surroundings before stepping off onto the roadway.
By following these simple guidelines, we can all get to where we are going safely, no matter how we choose to get there.
Carraway Traffic & Safety is committed to providing superior traffic management solutions that make sharing the road safer for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.
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