It was a close call—a very close call! My husband and I were pulling our 39-foot fifth wheel RV with our dually, diesel truck. We were driving in the far-right lane because we intended to turn right at the upcoming stop sign. My husband signaled his intentions and we rolled to a complete stop. After both of us checked for cross traffic, my husband pulled out to make the right-hand turn. That’s when it happened—we almost hit a bicyclist with our RV!
On the shoulder
We heard a loud shout, which caused my husband to slam on the brakes. That’s when I saw him—a bicyclist was rapidly approaching, riding on the right shoulder. He intended to go straight, and had we not stopped—mid-turn—we most certainly would have collided.
The bicyclist was angry! He clearly relayed his feelings to us through gestures and imaginative language. My husband was also unhappy. “We could have killed him!” I was too rattled to feel anger—at least at first.
Once we were on our way again, we talked about the incident. My husband insisted, “He couldn’t have fully stopped at the stop sign. He was going way too fast.” I wondered about the local bicycle laws. Back home, at least in our county, the bicyclist would have been cited for driving illegally on the road’s shoulder.
In the right, but still vulnerable
Thankfully, no person nor vehicle was damaged in this near-accident. However, just because you may be in the right according to the law, you can almost bet that if we’d injured the cyclist, we would have faced a civil suit.
Check out this website for state-by-state regulations for cyclists. You can enter the name of any state and find out about their bicyclist laws.
Extra caution required
- Share the road. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers on the road. Slow down for bicyclists on the road ahead of you and only pass them when it’s safe to do so. (Most states require you to maintain a minimum of a three-foot space between your vehicle and the cyclist you’re passing.)
- Watch for hand signals. Bicyclists communicate through specific hand signals. Watch for these signals and adjust your speed accordingly.
- Dooring. Dooring occurs when a car or truck driver parks his vehicle and opens his car door into a bicyclist. To avoid “dooring,” get into the habit of opening your driver’s side door with your right hand. Reach across your body to access the door handle. This will ensure that you check your rearview mirror as well as look over your left shoulder to see any bicyclist or other vehicle that may be approaching.
Have you ever personally experienced or witnessed a close call with a bicyclist while RVing? Share your story in the comments below.
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