Some safety advice



decca234uk

New Member
Jan 18, 2010
130
4
0
As a cyclist you will encounter lots of challenges when you are out. Safe cycling is about being totally aware of your surroundings and trying to anticipate what other road users are likely to do. Your first priority when out cycling is your own safety. Safe cycling means using your head and this means not necessary following the rules.

Take cycle lanes for example. Many drivers believe that when they are available cyclists should use them, they don’t understand that some cycle lanes can be dangerous for cyclists to use in certain situations.

A cycle lane full of pot holes or broken glass (not uncommon in the city) or where there are rows of parked cars is a danger and will make safe cycling difficult. You have to cycle where you are safest. If this means coming out of a cycle lane then you must come out of it. This may lead to angry drivers remonstrating with you. It’s important you don’t get involved in any arguments with drivers, there’s little to be gained from it.

Most motorists are perfectly reasonable and happy to accommodate cyclists. Some however, are hostile to cyclists. Arguing with these people is pointless because their built in hostility will prevent them from seeing things your way. Just ignore any abuse that may come from such people.

A little thought can enhance your bike safety enormously. Plan your route carefully before setting off on a journey. There will usually be a number of options available to cyclists that are not available to cars. Don’t assume you have to ride on a main road for your entire journey. You may be able to ride in back streets away from rush hour traffic. My own route to work takes me away from the main road for large parts of the journey. I’m happy to do this because it adds to my bike safety.

When getting on your bike switch on. You need to absorb as much information about what is going on around you as you can. You then need to disregard what’s irrelevant and pay attention to things that may effect you. Safe cycling means learning how to read the road. Look as far ahead as possible and read the road. As a cyclist you are vulnerable to the conditions of the road; keep an eye on the road as well as watching what’s going on around you. I’ve hit a few potholes in my time because I wasn’t paying attention to the road.
 

SierraSlim

Active Member
Oct 4, 2010
600
44
0
[COLOR= #0000ff]Nice post, Decca![/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]I'm so new to biking -- and so petrified of traffic -- that I haven't even ridden on any roads, yet, only on bike paths closed to traffic. I do have to cross roads on it a couple of places, but I'm so excruciatingly careful it probably drives people nuts, lol. My paranoia has actually saved my bacon twice already, and I've only been biking for a couple months. But if I hadn't been keeping my eyes on THOSE drivers, I'd be dead -- because they certainly weren't keeping theirs on me! (And I know one of them saw me originally, because I had locked eyes with him as I crossed the road in front of him at the stop sign.) [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Where I live, most of the bike lanes do seem to end up with cars parked along them, which makes it doubly hard for those riders who drive in traffic. I know one thing: Becoming a cyclist has certainly made me more watchful and careful when I see one up ahead! [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Thanks for the hints.[/COLOR]
 

Leo H.

New Member
Jun 4, 2010
15
2
0
One of the things I've found helpful is to to have a plan in mind and take it in small steps.

Start your riding while it's mostly light out. More for your ability to see road conditions than to worry about cars seeing you, imo. I feel more visible at night with my lights on riding with traffic than I do in the daytime with more traffic and more opportunities for motorists to be distracted. It's anecdotal, but that's my perception.


Plan your route. If you can avoid larger streets with higher speed traffic at first, you'll build up your confidence.

Read as many cycling forums and blogs as you can to learn what people do and what options are out there. One thing I've learned is that I am really annoyed at the folks who are proselytizers for ONE approach to riding that solves ALL problems. Nonsense. Whether we want to admit it or not, cycling in traffic and on roadways is a constantly changing experience and you need to be willing and able to watch out ahead and around you and respond to that.

For my .02, I've found that my experiences taking the motorcycle safety course have helped tremendously in keeping me mindful of what to watch out for as a small vehicle in traffic and where usually drivers don't pay attention to non motorized traffic. I use those tips and lessons regularly when I ride.

Act as much as a vehicle as you can and follow the rules. Wear a helmet, hi vis clothing and make yourself extra conspicuous. FOR ME, my experience has been that either drivers in this area are terribly nice to cyclists or that people give me respect for riding sanely and making myself as predictable and visible as I can for traffic.
I think it's probably 20/80 percent the case ;-)

This is my opinion, but be comfortable on your bike, in particular find a more upright style for your traveling in traffic. The easier it is for you to look around, the more chance you have to see and avoid something, imo. I don't mean to make folks groan, but that IS a reason I prefer riding a lwb recumbent. Of course, there are upright bike styles throughout the brands.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SierraSlim

Leo H.

New Member
Jun 4, 2010
15
2
0
One thing too, learn your local cycling laws. In our state, you are not obligated to ride in a bike lane, but it some states that's the law. I agree with Decca's comments that bike lane's are helpful, but not a cure all. Hooray, Nevada is not the lowest rank in something positive!!
 

Daddo

Member
Aug 22, 2008
26
10
0
Florida cycling laws are a tad confusing too.

If you are riding on the sidewalk or bike paths, you are a pedestrian and expected to observe all of the laws that refer to someone on foot. On the other hand, if you are operating as a Vehicular Cyclist, you are expected to ride as if you were in a car or on a motorcycle. Because of the fact that you can change from one mode to the other almost instantly, it is really the best of both worlds.

I have been riding six miles (one way) to work since January of this year and I think that I have encountered every sort of moonbat that exists. Motor vehicle operators are generally (most of them) calm and friendly in the mornings. However, between 5:00 and 6:30pm, LOOK OUT. It is like the asylum has opened it's doors and the crazies are behind the wheel. That is when I stick to the bike paths. Since I frequently work late, I get to mingle with the drunks out there between 10:30pm and 12:00am. That is when I pay a lot of attention even when I am on the bike paths. Drunks can become Target Fixated and home in on my headlights or my LED red flashers that are mounted on my messenger bag.

At night, you can never have enough lights on your bike. I use two headlights that can fire in a rapid strobe light manner. Ditto for the twin tail lights and the strobe lamp strapped to my left arm. I can tell you from experience that being seen, is MUCH more important then being able to see.

Adios Daddo
Daytona beach, Florida - USA