The mild weather in California provides an excellent environment for bicycle riding, so many roads have a mix of bikes and cars. These conditions may lead to accidents, especially when drivers and bicyclists fail to pay attention and take proper safety precautions. When you are sharing the road with bicyclists, there are several things you may do to reduce the risk of an accident.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles provides numerous resources on bicycle safety, including information on applicable traffic laws and essential safety tips. According to the DMV, most crashes happen because drivers and/or bicyclists engage in unsafe behavior or do not pay attention to their surroundings. While state law requires bicyclists to follow traffic laws, it is especially important for drivers to take precautions to avoid an accident. In a collision between a bike and a car, there is a far greater chance of the bicyclist sustaining injuries.
If you are driving on a road with a bike lane, make sure to look for bicycles around you before merging to make a right turn. Although riders should follow stop signs and cross within crosswalks, it is a good idea to check around your car before you cross an intersection or turn onto another road. The DMV recommends that bicyclists use hand signals to indicate when they are going to turn or change lanes, so it is important to look for these signals and understand what they mean. If you must pass a bicycle, allow as much space as possible without affecting traffic in other lanes.
This general information on preventing accidents with bicycles is intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.