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Cycling Safety

July 16, 2019

Cycling Safety

If you are doing any riding on the road, then cycling safety requires that you know how to share the road with cars. Generally, cars will respect a rider’s presence, but there are things that you should be doing as a rider to uphold your responsibilities on the road.

Use the street and not the sidewalk. A bicycle is treated as a vehicle and must travel on the road, riding in the same direction as traffic. Pedestrians, on the other hand, get the sidewalk and walk facing traffic. Use a dedicated bike lane if there is one, or use the shoulder if there is no bike lane. In some cases, you may not be able to be on the road and must take the sidewalk. This could be due to a narrow shoulder, erratic driving, or any other road condition that would make it impossible for you to use the road. In such instances, make sure no one is behind you, dismount, and walk your bike on the sidewalk until you can get back on the road. Do not ride on the sidewalk.

Be predictable. It’s dangerous to be driving your car on the road when another car is changing speed, or changing lanes without signaling, and the same principle holds with cycling safety. If you are going to be moving, move at a consistent speed and maintain your spacing on the road. If you need to turn, get off your bicycle, change lanes, or slow down, then signal your intentions before you do anything.

Be visible. Cars have running lights, brake lights, and headlights. A bike, especially when it is on the road, needs to be as visible as possible. At night this is even more important. A car driver is probably looking out for other cars and might not be as aware of bikers on the road as you, the biker, would like. In the order of least to most effective: bright/high visibility clothing, reflective materials, and lights will make drivers aware of you.

Enter the actual intersection when making a turn. Turning from the shoulder can be risky since a car might enter the shoulder while taking their turn. Signal, enter the lane, and then for all intents and purposes, you act like a car until you can safely signal and get back into the shoulder.

Ride single file. Do you know how annoying it is to be on a two-lane road and two cars are neck and neck blocking both lanes, even if you want to pass? Well, the same thing happens when you are on a bike. Ride in a single file line. If you need to pass someone or pull back, make sure the road is clear of cars before doing so and remember to signal. In most cases, riding two across is illegal and three across is most definitely illegal. Cycling safety is integral to cycling. Pay attention so you can continue to ride a very long time.