It was painful to learn recently that last year there were 80 road accidents in Bahrain involving cyclists. Five of these accidents resulted in the death of the cyclists and 39 suffered serious injuries. Until August this year, seven cyclists have already died in road accidents.

Twelve cyclists dying in 20 months on the road is a high figure for a country the size of Bahrain and vehicle drivers need to pay more attention to this issue. In September, in a horrific accident, a 10-year-old was mowed down by a speeding .

So what can a driver do to avoid such mishaps? The first thing to remember is that as soon as you notice a cyclist on the road – whether approaching you or driving away from you – prepare to steer clear of him by an arm’s length, literally. Make sure that as you by him there is a distance of at least two feet between his bicycle and your car.

Secondly, reduce your speed so that in case the cyclist makes any sudden move to change his direction you are in full control of your vehicle and thus do not hit him.

There are two kinds of cyclists that one generally encounters on the road -blue-collar workers and children having fun.

In case of workers going about their business on bicycles, one is most likely to encounter them in sparsely-populated areas with long empty stretches where, in the daytime they could be easy to spot and manage. But at night, be careful and look out for the ones who may not be having the mandatory headlight on their vehicle while pedalling away in a poorly-lit area.

In case of crowded areas the two-foot rule applies and your speed has to be low.

As for children, they are obviously most likely to be romping about on their cycles in and around residential colonies, near schools or in public parks. In their case one has to be extremely cautious when driving close to them. By and large, children consider their colonies or public parks as ‘’ territories and their own turf and therefore are less responsible as they pedal away. So the entire responsibility of their safety virtually falls on the vehicle driver who has to be not only patient, but also drive slowly when children are around.

This is all the more essential when you see a whole gang of chattering children driving around, as if with no cares in this world. In such a scenario you may have to reduce your speed to a virtual crawl since children without destination are likely to twist and turn on the road without any apparent purpose and merely for fun.

Drive safe!