A great source of exercise and an effective mode of transportation, riding a bike can be a highly enjoyable experience. But for all its simplicity, it’s not without its risks. Obstacles and unaware drivers can mean the difference between getting to your destination or eating a Jell-O cup in a hospital bed. To avoid that dreaded fate, we’re sharing a two-part series on how to be a safe and savvy cyclist as you share the road. If you encounter any of these scenarios, we’re here to help you every pedal of the way.
1. The Right Cross
- Problem: You’re taking a leisurely ride down the street when suddenly a car T-bones into you from the right side of an intersection.
- Solution: Make yourself visible with headlight and reflective gear at all times, and ALWAYS wear a helmet. Use spatial awareness and stay away from the curb.
2. The Door Prize
- Problem: Congratulations! You’ve just won a one-way ticket to Splatsville courtesy of a driver’s side car door swung open right in front of you.
- Solution: Simply slow down and stay to the left side of the lane.
3. The Crosswalk Slam
- Problem: You’re riding on the sidewalk and reach the crosswalk. All clear, so you cross. Just as you’re about to reach the other side, a right-turning car slams into you.
- Solution: Don’t ride on the sidewalk! It’s only for pedestrians and cracks that break mama’s back. See also – helmet and headlight.
4. The Wrong-Way Wreck
- Problem: You’re casually riding on the left side of the street, probably thinking about food or what show to binge next. Out of nowhere, BAM! A car turns right—onto the same side of the street as you are—not seeing you before paying an up-close and personal visit.
- Solution: Don’t ride on the left side! Drivers turning right focus on traffic coming from their left. Plus, it’s illegal. Plus plus, it can mean less reaction time and a harder collision because relative speed between you and the car is much higher.
5. The Red Light of Doom
- Problem: Like a good citizen, you stop to wait at the red light. The car next to you is also waiting, but what you don’t know is that the driver can’t see you. The light turns green and as you start forward, the car turns right into you.
- Solution: Don’t stop in a blind spot; choose the front or the back of the vehicle. If you stop in front, you’re technically in the car’s way, so be ready to move when the light goes green. If you stop behind, wait for the car in front to turn before proceeding.
Stay tuned for Part II of our bicycle safety series!