This site was created to promote the benefits of cycling which are numerous. However cycling comes with a risk and that risk needs to be minimised. If the photo shocks you then good. It’s supposed to shock you because cycling safety regretably at times is a matter of life and death.
Sharing The Road With Cars
Cyclists and cars must learn to share lanes. The problem is that drivers don’t always see little old you on your bike. It’s not that the driver is a bad driver, though it can be the case, but it is just a fact that a person on a bike is not always terribly visible. There are several ways to decrease the risks associated with riding with traffic and increase your safety.
The first way to be safe is to increase your visibility. This means installing a headlight and taillights on your bike along with reflectors. Putting reflectors on your helmet and clothing increases your visibility as well. In fact, wearing brightly colored clothing will make you stand out and help drivers see you. In general, wearing gray or black is a bad idea, especially in the evening and night.
A common way for bikers to be hit is by pulling out in front of a moving car or swerving in front of a moving vehicle. While cyclists often turn to look, they have blind spots too. Mirrors attached to the handlebars will allow cyclists to see what is behind them and prevent them from being surprised and hit by a car.
Ride in Designated Lanes
Cyclists are often hit by opening doors. In fact, opening doors are a major hazard for cyclists. The only way to really avoid this is to ride in a designated lane either for cars or bikes (check your local policies and ordinances for what is permissible). Cyclists often ride close to curb or to cars parked on the curb. This means that they cannot avoid a sudden car door opening. Riding in a designated lane—even a designated car lane, reduces the risk greatly. The idea is to ride far enough over to allow plenty of room for the sudden car door.
Another common way for cyclists to be injured is at driveways or alleyways. A car may be pulling out and may not notice the cyclist approaching. While the cyclist may have the right of way, no one wants to get hit by a car because someone doesn’t stop. The best solution for this is to pay close attention to the road and to connecting alleys and driveways. Slow and be prepared to stop if you can see a vehicle attempting to pull out. This does not mean that you have to stop at every crossing. Many drivers do notice cyclists. It simply means to have your hand on the brake and be ready because most drivers are looking for cars rather than bikes.
Avoid Blind Spots
It’s never a good idea to ride in a driver’s blind spot. Being in a blind spot can mean that a driver may try to merge into you or may turn right or left in front of you causing bad things to happen. Always try to be aware of blind spots and spend minimal amounts of time in them.
Cycling is fun, but it does have its risks. However, you can minimize these risks by being aware of your surrounding and by being cautious. As cycling grows in popularity so will awareness, but the best way to stay safe is to ride as if you don’t trust the cars around you. You can’t avoid all accidents, but you can prevent some of them by taking steps to be a responsible cyclist.