Sharing the Road with Cyclists
There are many benefits of riding a bicycle. It is a great form of exercise to strengthen your heart and legs, helps to cut down on pollution, and also decreases traffic on the road. Even with these advantages, riding a bike on the same roads as motor vehicles creates a series of risks and inherent dangers that could result in serious injuries.
The majority of accidents between bicycles and automobiles happen when both try to share the road. Drivers often don’t see cyclists and in towns that aren’t known as bicycle communities, drivers may not be used to sharing the road and don’t know how to act.
Road Safety Tips
While motorists should be aware of cyclists and be respectful to their presence on the road, cyclists can also do a lot to ensure they are safe on the road. For example, you should never ride your bike in heavy traffic if you are inexperienced or not wearing proper safety gear like a helmet. Some other helpful safety tips include:
- The motorist and cyclist both should obey traffic laws by not speeding, changing lanes without signaling, or running stop lights and signs.
- Cyclists should never ride the opposite way of traffic. Always ride with traffic.
- Motorists should treat bikes just like another vehicle, leaving a generous space in between their car and the cyclist.
- Cyclists need to wear safety gear and never ride without reflectors or flashing lights, especially at night.
Everyone needs to learn to share the road regardless of what form of transportation they choose. If you are involved in an accident because of a negligent driver, you may have grounds for legal action.
Cycling is not only great exercise, it is also fantastic fun. What better way to get out and enjoy the great outdoors than on a bicycle? Biking has been the great American sport since the very first bicycle models came on the scene in the early 1800s and the charm of the sport has never faded. This is an activity that appeals to individuals of all ages, from the smallest toddlers to active senior citizens.
Of course, with every great sport comes some risk for accident or injury and cycling is no exception. However, with some simple precautions and preparations all riders can remain safe all of the time. Following are some key tips on how to stay safe while enjoying the view from atop two wheels.
No helmet, no cycling. This should be the mantra not only for children but for riders in all age brackets. How often have you seen a family of cyclists rolling through the park, with only the children in the group sporting a helmet? Not only does this send a seriously mixed message to the young ones, it also endangers the adults in the party. While helmet laws in states such as Illinois, California and Florida are devoted specifically to children under age 16, a helmet is a wise accessory for all riders. You can purchase a child’s helmet for as little as $14 and an adults for as low as $19.
Rules of the Road
There are simple rules dictating how cyclists should handle themselves when on the streets and the savvy rider will abide by all of these rules. Among these rules are signalling, using proper gear, riding with traffic, and strictly following all street signs. For a comprehensive rules of the road listing, check the website for your states Department of Motor Vehicles.
Not only do you need to refrain from using headphones or other devices that disallows you from hearing automotive traffic, you also need to always keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings.
When riding at dusk or at night (which is not recommended for children) be sure to use a headlight, a taillight and make certain your cycle has several reflectors.
Be sure that your bicycle is in good working order before heading out for a ride. This means performing a general inspection of the bike which should include a brake check, proper inflation for the tires, and being certain the seating is the correct height and secure.
Riding in the Right Lane – Tips For Safe Biking on the Right Side of Vehicles
If you ride on the streets frequently, it’s inevitable that sooner or later you will get some lessons regarding the interactions between cars and bikes. It’s a matter of statistical fact that the more you ride on the streets, the more you will have to be ready for behavior by drivers that could threaten your safety if you aren’t prepared.
Probably the worst thing you can do is avoid the streets out of fear. Riding in and around cars is not only doable, but achievable in a safe manner if you cultivate an attitude of watchful caution. Plus, when you strap on your helmet, also review some tips and advice that could help you stay safe in a jam.
It’s always advantageous to be very visible. Whether you wear a neon green or yellow jacket, or use bright blinking LED’s lights (or both), the sooner a vehicle sees you and recognize you as a bicyclist the better you will be. Modern vehicles can overtake you at such a high rate of speed that a driver who is distracted can catch up to a cyclist in mere seconds. With lighting or bright colors, you greatly heighten your chance of being seen and recognized.
On to the right lane. In many situations, a bicyclist can find themselves overtaking a motorist on the right side This is problematical. At an intersection, junction or other place a driver can choose to turn right, you are at risk. Driver’s are strained and usually pretty conservative in their behavior. However, when you approach on the right you can easily enter a blind spot just behind and to the side of the car.
It’s extremely helpful for your safety to be aware of the motion of the car. Many turns are proceeded by some kind of intuitive motion of the car. You can often sense an impending car because the driver has let up on the accelerator.
It’s better to stay off the corner of the car and perhaps somewhat behind. If you can see the brake lights, you are safer than when you are even with the side of the car. That puts you in the crush zone. If the driver misses your approach on the right, they may choose to turn right suddenly, sending you under the wheels or into the side panels. Ouch!
Another right side bombshell by drivers is to dart around vehicles in front of them who are waiting to turn left. Suddenly that pebble-strewn shoulder that was only frequented by lizards and bikers just short moments ago, now becomes highly desirable real estate.
Any time a vehicle has a choice to go right in any way for any reason, your vulnerability goes up. When vehicles are stopped at a light with a right turn close at hand, your bike can easily get in the way if the driver unexpectedly decides to make a turn, forgets to turn on the turn light, or simply can’t see you.
Another terrible scenario is when a driver’s passenger suddenly and unexpectedly throws open the right hand door. A person who would normally check carefully when driving, may completely forget about bikers when exiting on the right side. One way streets come to mind where you can ride on the left side of traffic.
Passing vehicles who are parked at a traffic light can be really a problem as well. Remember to take up a lane like a car if you feel it’s safer to do so.
Finally, keep your head about you and look with all your senses. Learn to check the whole environment frequently, not only nest to you but front, back and all around. That way you will learn the skills you need.
This information gives clear cyclists, motorcycles, bikes, awareness, give way to cyclists, give way to motorbikes. I wish you all the best.
Please Note: The above is for education and awareness only. Please consult the official authorities in your country or town for the cycling laws.