Driver Cut Off - California Bicycle Coalition

Driver Cut Off

Understanding the risks

A driver on a driveway or cross street crosses your path without checking for cross traffic or making a full stop.
You increase the risk of a collision if you fail to obey a stop or yield sign or stoplight.

Using the 5 skills

These are the skills you use to reduce your risks when a driver directly crosses your path:


  • You can ride in a straight line without wobbling.
  • When preparing to move left or right, you can look back over your shoulder without swerving.
  • You can give a hand signal without swerving.
  • You can slow or stop quickly without losing control of your bike.


  • You ride where you are visible to drivers entering the roadway from side streets, alleys and driveways.
  • You’re aware that parked vehicles can make it hard to see alleys and driveways, and you ride closer to the center of the lane or the street and/or ride slower.
  • You take your turn at intersections, including stopping at red lights and stop signs.
  • You turn and look directly at the driver of the vehicle the roadway to indicate that you see them.
  • You signal the other driver not to proceed by shaking your head “No” and/or gesturing.


  • You ride far enough out from the right edge of the roadway to control the lane and make it clear to entering traffic that you have the right-of-way.


  • If you see a vehicle preparing to dart out of a cross street or driveway, you check to your side to see whether you can safely move out of its way if needed.
  • If a vehicle begins to dart into your path, you decide whether to slow down, make a “quick stop”*, move to one side or the other, or make an “instant turn* to avoid a collision. (You decide in that order.) In preparing to make an “instant turn”, you scan to your right to ensure that you have a safe place to turn into. In a “quick stop”, you stop your bike safely in the shortest possible distance by using both brakes, if possible, and shifting your weight back on the seat. You can learn these skills in a bicycle safety class led by a certified instructor.


  • You know your helmet and gloves will prevent or reduce injuries in case of a fall.

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