Road etiquette is not just about being courteous. It is about working together to create a safer environment for all road users, writes Maurice Blackburn Associate, Kaylene Gregory.
Most cyclists also drive motor vehicles sometimes. 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 are our top five tips to implement 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, but the bigger potential cost is to the health and wellbeing of anyone who may suffer an injury in an accident.
Tip – Whether you’re driving a car or 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 Triathlon Queensland 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. Improper use of mobile phones has also been shown to correlate with an increase in road fatalities. In 2015, 25% of all car accidents involved the improper use of a mobile phone in some way in Australia.
Tip – When on the road, switch your phone to ‘do not disturb’.
Maurice Blackburn are the preferred legal supplier for Triathlon Queensland members. For more information on how Maurice Blackburn can get you back on track, call 1800 810 812 or visit mauriceblackburn.com.au