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Sharing the road, tips for cyclists and motorists on how to stay safe

Posted at 6:11 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 18:12:00-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Whether you're behind the wheel, or behind the handlebars, the rules of the road are the same.

"You basically have to act like a car," said Matthew Dunning, the shop manager of Campus Wheel Works in Buffalo.

Dunning said cyclists need to follow all the same traffic rules that cars do; however, sharing the road isn't always easy.

"There's situations almost everyday that cyclists have that are life threatening," he said.

The main incidents Dunning noted of cars and bicycles getting into dangerous situations is turns. Mainly when cars turn right, and don't notice cyclists in the bike lane, or when cars turn left and try to turn before a bike in oncoming traffic clears the intersection.

Dunning said another common incident occurs when a car isn't moving at all. It's called "dooring," which is when a driver in a parked car opens the door without looking and hits a cyclist riding in the bike lane.

Unlike some other cities, there are no physical barriers separating Buffalo's bike lanes from the rest of the road.

"There's a lot of different cycling infrastructure, and they're all kind of mishmashed together which can make it look confusing for drivers to know what to expect from a cyclist," said Dunning.

There are lanes that are clearly marked by lines on each side. Some lanes are painted green, which Dunning said are used in high traffic areas to stand out more. Additionally, there are bikes with arrow markings in the middle of roads, which Dunning said are called "sharrows," meaning drivers should expect to fully share the road with cyclists.

However, cyclist can always drive where cars do, even if there is a bike lane, the lane is just there as an option for protection.

"We're all people, we all just picked a different mode of transportation to get where we're going," said Dunning.