We are often so sidetracked by the issues associated with vehicles that we forget to talk about cyclists and the serious threats they are often exposed to. In order to help bicycle riders to avoid crashes involving other vehicles, many safety advocates urge bicycle riders to follow important steps to avoid crashes. Some of these tips involve defensive techniques while others are all about space awareness.
If you’re a bicycle rider or an enthusiast, make sure to pay attention to the following safety steps so you may avoid crashes.
Watch Out for Passing Vehicles to Avoid Crashes
All too often, drivers will do something known as the “right hook,” which is when the car traveling the same direction as the cyclist turns off the road and across the rider’s path. This move may result in crashes, but there’s a way to avoid them.
When that happens, riders should make sure they are always aware of it. For you, as a rider, to stay alert, make a habit of glancing over your left shoulder while riding on the right side of the road every time you’re about to approach an exit ramp, driveway, or intersection. To avoid being swept by the vehicle, merge early and ride on the line between turn lanes and through traffic to avoid being in the way. If a car ahead slows down to make a turn, ride on their outside, avoiding to duck between the vehicle and the corner.
Watch for the Car Doors
Experts often urge bicycle riders to stay alert to parked vehicles while riding on tight roads. In order to avoid accidents, riders should stay away from what experts call “door zones.” TO them, those are the most insidious hazard facing urban cyclists.
To avoid riding straight into an opening car door, safety advocates urge riders to ride always assuming that one of those doors will soon swing open. BUt if you’re forced to squeeze in and ride by the door zone, make sure you have slowed down significantly, to an almost walking speed and stay on the lookout for signals. Pay attention to the vehicles’ brake lights and the inside of parked and stopped vehicles to assess whether passengers or drivers are about to walk out.
While drivers should also keep this in mind in order to avoid hitting a cyclist, riders should be the first ones to recognize the risk and make sure they too are paying attention.
Avoid Passing in Front of Pedestrians
What many cyclists do not understand is that when it comes to passing pedestrians, the most important thing a rider should do is to actually pass behind them, not in front of them. Why? Because the pedestrian’s natural instinct is to jump forward in order to avoid collision, rather than stopping and retreating. When riding behind pedestrians, however, those on foot are more likely to give you more room. Instead of playing a guessing game that could cause you to expose the pedestrian to injuries, make sure to always pass behind them.
For more tips on how to be a safe bicycle rider in the city, follow this link or watch the video below.