Road etiquette is not just about being courteous. It is about working together to create a safer environment for all road users, writes Associate Kaylene Gregory.
Most cyclists sometimes drive motor vehicles. Demonstrating how to share the road by observing good road etiquette sets a positive example for your passengers and fellow road users, and makes the journey safer for everyone. Here’s our recommended and easy to implement top 5 guide to road etiquette – why not share it with others?
1. The 3 second rule
Maintaining a safe following distance is a safety must do! Tailgating is not only disrespectful; it can also be very dangerous.
The Queensland Government recommends you should drive at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front in ideal driving conditions and you should add an additional second for each three metre trailer length.
Tip – To ensure you are maintaining a safe following distance, pick a landmark ahead of you such as a sign post and watch for the car in front of you to pass it. If you are driving in ideal conditions and are able to count two seconds or more before you pass the same landmark, you are driving at a safe following distance. Don’t forget, if driving in less than ideal conditions or following a vehicle towing a trailer, be sure to stay further behind.
2. Indicate, indicate, indicate!
Your turning signal is an essential tool. If you are on a bicycle, ensuring you use appropriate hand signals is of utmost importance.
Failing to indicate is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents, and in Queensland can attract fines starting from $78 for motorists and cyclists alike. Motorists can also lose demerit points. The bigger potential cost though, is to the health and wellbeing of anyone who may suffer an injury in an accident.
Tip – Whether you’re driving a car or riding a bike, make sure you always signal for at least five seconds before performing a manoeuvre to warn others of your intended action.
3. Blinded by the lights
High beam headlights and fog lights can temporarily deprive other road users of their sight when used inappropriately. The Queensland Government recommends only using high beam headlights when a vehicle in front is 200 metres or further away from you.
Fog lights are to be turned off and only used in poor weather conditions such as heavy rain or fog.
Tip – Use fog lights sparingly and appropriately!
4. Bicycles are real vehicles, too
Some people can be guilty of thinking that cyclists are not in the same category as motorists. However, as I’m sure all TQ members know, bicycles are legally recognised as a vehicle on the road, and therefore cyclists enjoy the same rights to use public roads as other road users.
Tip – Treat cyclists with the same courtesy you would other road users, and don’t forget to look out for cyclists and give them the space they need on the road, too!
5. Reduce phone distractions
Using a mobile phones in your hand while driving is illegal. In Queensland, you can be fined $391 and have 3 demerit points recorded against your traffic history if you are using your mobile phone while driving. You can also be fined $391 for using your mobile phone when cycling. Whilst it may be difficult to estimate the number of accidents caused or contributed to by improper use of mobile phones in Australia, it goes without saying that using your mobile phone while driving or cycling is dangerous to all road users.
Tip – When on the road, turn off your phone.
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