Bike Signals That Make Motorists Nervous

Almost every day during the summer you swim laps at the East Potomac Pool and have to drive down Ohio Drive to get there, and almost every day you’re forced to drive next to a group of bikers who are doing their daily Hains Point ride. Although you commend them for working out on their lunch period—just as you do—driving next to them can sometimes get your heart rate racing faster than when you’re swimming.

On occasion, a biker will appear to lose his balance or veer into the road, causing you to panic and veer over as well, sometimes narrowly missing oncoming cars. Other times, a biker may suddenly stop, causing you to stop as well or attempt to avoid him by adjusting your course, even when this may increase the risk of a collision.

Is this normal? Do bikers know that their sudden movements can affect how a motorist drives?

How False Signs of a Bike Accident Can Cause Vehicle Accidents

Driving near a bicycle can be extremely nerve-racking at the best of times, but when it appears that the biker may be having problems, the smallest gesture could cause you to overcorrect, to overlook other developing traffic problems, or to cause a fatal collision. Although the biker himself may not know his actions cause motorist distress, the consequences are still the same. Therefore, it is extremely important for bikers to take proper precautions to limit the following gestures, maneuvers, and actions that could alarm motor vehicle drivers:

  • Riding over gravel can cause jerking and movements that appear you’re unsteady or unbalanced.
  • Riding down a hill onto the road can cause drivers to become alarmed that you won’t be able to control your bike, stop, or maneuver away from them.
  • Swerving can make it appear that you’re unbalanced or out of control.
  • Sudden stops, tipping, or tilting can make nearby motorists worried about where you may be going or how they should avoid you.

When a motorist is unsure of a biker’s actions or worries about the biker’s stability, he may swerve, ignore other traffic, or become so concerned with avoiding the biker that he actually causes an accident. Therefore, it is important to make sure your actions and gestures are controlled when riding a bike, not only to give peace of mind to surrounding motorists, but also to prevent a tragedy.

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