Riding your bike can be dangerous, and that’s usually the fault of people driving in cars. Even so, it’s better to be safe than to be hurt but have the right of things. Here are three surprising bike safety tips to keep in mind:
1. Hog the road.
There’s something about being on a bike that can make you feel like you’re getting in the way. Maybe it’s the car that’s been on your tail because it can’t swerve around you. Maybe it’s the pointed burst of speed that car has when they finally can pass you by crossing into the other empty lane. But no matter what prickle on the back of your neck is letting you know that someone is glaring at you, don’t try to get out of the way.
If you’re using the whole lane like you have a right to, then drivers will see you. They might be annoyed that they can’t pass you, but drivers very rarely hit bikers out of malice. But if you’re riding on the edge of the road, drivers either won’t see you or they’ll think they have enough room to get around you, whether you invited them to or not.
2. Be a pedestrian.
When you’re crossing a pedestrian lane, it’s better to get off your bike. Even if you think you might be improving the situation by getting out of the way faster, it’s better to walk. Not only do you have more mobility in case drivers aren’t paying attention, it’s safer both medically and legally. Drivers are usually held liable without much of a contest if you did the right thing and got off your bike.
3. Don’t be a professional.
Just like the first point above, you need to stand out. Lack of visibility is the main problem when it comes to collisions. So you want to be as bright and colorful as possible. Make sure your reflectors are in position. Wear bright, flashy clothing rather than your work clothes. And if you’re in the market for a new helmet (which you should absolutely be wearing), consider the tacky one with the spikes. Drivers will look at you askance, but they’ll look at you.
For more bike safety tips, browse our legal blog at the Law Office of Gary Brustin.