Don’t Tread on Me

by Terry Bryant

Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safety

Oftentimes, motorists are frustrated by cyclists on the roadways.  Anyone can say, “Share the road,” yet cyclists need to take special precautions not only to follow the rules of the road but also to ride defensively.  Instead of being a passive cyclist, be defensive about your road space and safety measures you take in preparing for a ride.

Take the lane.  Don’t timidly pedal in the shadow or blind spot of a motor vehicle.  This is, in fact, more dangerous than actually taking the entire lane.  By riding closer to the center of a traffic lane, this increases your visibility and decreases the risk of being caught in a motorist’s blind spot when turning or merging.  Maintain the lane at red lights, too.  If you fall to the side of the vehicles stopped at a red light, you are in their blind spot.

Go with the flow.  Always ride with the flow of traffic—never against it.  Riding against the flow of traffic may be a good idea, in theory, to make sure motorists see you head on.  However, motorists turning on and off the road will not think to look for you if you are traveling against the flow of traffic.

Give yourself the silent treatment.  Take out the earbuds.  You, as a cyclist, need to have not only your eyes but also your ears open to the sounds of approaching vehicles, car horns, other cyclists, and pedestrians.  If you’re listening to music as you ride, you are far less likely to notice the sensory cues that cannot be seen.

Pipe up when passing.  Don’t forget to pipe up when passing other cyclists and pedestrians.  To safely maneuver around another cyclist or pedestrian, yell out “on your left,” then safely maneuver around to the left of the person and fall back into the lane.  Use arm signals, as well, to warn before passing, turning, and stopping.

If you find yourself or someone you know injured in a cycling accident, contact a board certified lawyer.  Also, check the uninsured motorist clause in your auto insurance policy.  It may provide coverage if you are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle while cycling.