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Your Definitive Guide to Riding Your Bike in Traffic

Your Definitive Guide to Riding Your Bike in Traffic

Riding a bicycle

For a cyclist, there is nothing more enjoyable than watching car commuters staggering in the busy traffic, while you are walking home on your bicycle at will when you get off work. Riding a bicycle to get off work does not increase the burden of life, but eliminates the pressure of the working day. Instead of spending more time sitting on the butt, it is better to sit on bike saddle of the bicycle to exercise. You are not contributing to the world’s pollution problem, but doing your part to make our planet greener and cleaner. Therefore, this article will give you the guide to bike in traffic.

Need more motivation? Consider these eye-opening statistics from the bicycle advocacy organization People For Bikes:

Using a bicycle to commute 4 miles (one way) 4 days a week can save approximately 54 gallons of gasoline per year.

The energy and resources needed to make a medium-sized car can produce 100 bicycles.

Automobiles and SUVs account for 40% of daily oil consumption in the United States.

Traffic jams waste 2 billion gallons of gasoline each year.

The cost of building and maintaining a space on a bicycle rack is about US$50, a bicycle locker costs US$500, and a parking space in the parking structure costs US$8,500.

Despite these convincing statistics, many cyclists hate ride bike in traffic. In fact, safety issues when cycling in traffic have always been one of the main reasons why people don’t often ride bicycles to and from get off work. Frankly speaking, this is understandable. When you ride a bicycle, traffic, especially in big cities, can be downright scary. The motorist drove by in a tank-sized car. Pedestrians walk into your path blindly. You have been trying to drive on roads that are often full of cracks, potholes, and who knows what they are.

RELATED: How to ride a bike in traffic

Although you cannot change any of these factors, you can change your reaction to them by learning how to ride safer and smoother in the worst rush hour traffic. Here are some basic tips to help you build confidence and skills.

10 key skills

Riding a bicycle

Practice makes perfect: Step on between cars parked in a mall or supermarket to get used to so much metal around. This will help you feel comfortable when the driver passes normally. Save your adrenaline for real emergencies.

See where you want to go: Don’t spend too much time worrying about the traffic behind you. Most bicycle accidents involving cars occur when the driver and rider cross each other at intersections and lanes, especially when the driver turns in front of the rider.

Make eye contact: Never assume that the driver sees you or that you have the right of way. And don’t take pedestrian signals, green traffic lights, or driver awareness for granted. Instead, always make eye contact with the driver to make sure they see you.

Keep your route: In order to stay safe in traffic, you need to track what happens behind you, so it’s a good idea to master the skill of looking behind you without turning. Practice riding on a quiet road or painted line in a parking lot. Once you can do this, try to keep your course while turning your head to the left. Lower your left shoulder slightly while keeping your right shoulder level. Don’t rely on peripheral vision. You should be able to turn your head far enough to clearly see behind you.

If you are struggling, try to straighten your left arm behind you, then turn your head, shoulders, and neck as you look at your left shoulder. Aiming your arm will help you keep riding in a straight line. Eventually, you will be able to do this without using your arm as a guide.

Attention: Most drivers will not actively ignore cyclists. They are just used to looking for bigger obstacles (or they may be looking at their smartphones). For this reason, if there are no bike lanes or shoulders to ride, don’t be overly polite and embrace the drain. On the contrary, when sharing a road without a separate bicycle lane or shoulder, your first responsibility is your own safety and your own safety.

The best way is to drive on the right-wheel track of the lane so that you can maintain 2 to 4 feet of space from the edge of the road. This makes it easier for you to be seen by drivers, who will usually look for other vehicles in that area of the road. In addition, in this position, you are unlikely to blend in with the
rocks along the hairpin bends or the leaves in the open space area. (Here are some more tips that can be the biggest distraction on the road.)

Light up: Dress yourself and your bike so that you can see it easily. It’s always a good idea to have brightly colored and highly visible riding gear, especially items such as shoe covers and gloves, because they are often in motion and can attract the driver’s attention. Your helmet is another potentially eye-catching place. Add some reflective tape to the back and even attach a small flashing light. In fact, front and rear lights are essential, especially at dawn and dusk or when there is insufficient light during the day.

Follow the process: When driving on a standard road lane, keep to the right, but not too far to the right. Yes, this brings you closer to traffic, but it is also safer because the driver will not try to pass you. When someone opens the door of a parked car, not embracing the drain can also reduce your risk of being hit. If you need to ensure safety, please occupy the entire lane. In fact, on some streets with special bicycle lane markings (called sharrows), cyclists should walk the entire lane. On downhill roads where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less, using a full lane is usually the safest way because the bicycle can easily keep up with other vehicles. In this case, it is best to act like a car.

The following is how to safely handle a left turn in traffic:

Stay in your lane: Even if there is space, don’t move to the right at an intersection, or when a long list of parking spaces are vacant, to temporarily avoid traffic. You will have to return to traffic at some point, and you may accidentally appear in the driver’s field of vision. Instead, keep your position and try to be predictable.

Take your place: Use your position in the lane to express your intentions. If you are going to merge or turn left, move to the left part of the lane. When you go straight and drive at the same speed as other vehicles, stay in the center. When you want to merge or turn in that direction, or allow vehicles to pass, move to the right.

Watch out for oncoming vehicles: Always watch out for vehicles coming from the opposite direction, about to turn left (passing through your path). This often happens when you drag a string of cars through an intersection. The driver coming from the other side may only pay attention to the car. He may start turning after the last car has passed the intersection because he does not want another set of wheels to pass. To avoid this, please try to get as close as possible to the last car in the line. Of course, be prepared to apply the brakes just in case.

Use SIPDE

Bike in Traffic

Take a page from the world of car and motorcycle safety and use the SIPDE method, which stands for: search, identify, predict, decide, execute. This is a breakdown of each.

Search the street (and sidewalk) ahead

Identify potential hazards

Predict their actions

Decide on the course of action

Perform maneuvers that allow you to safely follow the route of your choice

Constantly distract your attention on your direct traffic routes, your escape routes (alternative routes in case your path is blocked), small streets, and any vehicles you pass that may overtake you in the future. Don’t be distracted by any vehicles, sounds or events outside the line. Just write them down and decide if they will enter your line later.

Avoid being squeezed: Drivers may sometimes try to sneak past you and then cut off your way when they turn right. One clue to be aware of is that when the car is approaching an intersection, it drifts to the left of the lane and prepares to turn quickly to the right. Likewise, it is essential to keep scanning and preparing to brake. Therefore, don’t embrace the roadside. This only encourages aggressive drivers to try to overtake from behind in unsafe conditions.

Watch for blind spots: Drivers look for openings in traffic by nosing their cars out of driveways and side streets that have limited visibility. When you approach such spots, stand tall on the pedals and try to make eye contact with the driver. Take the center of the lane if you can, and check for escape space to the left just in case.

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