Monday, February 24, 2014
3 Ways to be Safer In Traffic
Anyone who has ridden a bike for an extended period of time has probably had some close calls when cycling in heavy — sometimes even light traffic. While some of those times may be a result of carelessness or multitasking on the part of the rider, we are all too well aware of how distracted and careless drivers can be.
It should suffice to say that defensive riding is the number one way to prevent accidents when out there in the cold street. One reason for that comes from this road proverb: You can drive a truck between what motorists ought to do - what they're legally obliged to do - versus what they actually do. Just because I have the right of way does not mean I can proceed in the comfort that my rights, life and limb will not be violated.
So let's examine a few of the most common places to be aware of danger so that you may avoid nasty collisions or falls.
Cars Turning Right
When passing a motorist (or when one passes you) take a quick second to look through the window of the car. You will be amazed at how much you can divine of a motorist's knowledge and intentions.
Did he see you? Is he looking in his rear or side view mirror? Is he slowing down to make the right turn? Is he concentrated on the flow of incoming traffic— without looking back at you?
Remember - no matter how much it doesn't seem like it - motorists don't want to hit you either. Give them the benefit of the doubt and slow down a bit when you are in a place that you can tell it could be dangerous if motorists are distracted.
Typically, seeing a car that is turning left is not too difficult to do. However, if you are riding in dense traffic, sometimes the traffic going in your same direction can hide a left-turning motorist from your view. If you have to ride in traffic like that, look for an opening in the traffic in front of you. The likeliest reason for this space is to allow a vehicle to cross the road, right in front of you.
Many of us who have ridden for a long time know fellow riders who tend to crash more than others. Typically, these are the inattentive riders. This might be excused, but for the consequences. At some point inattentiveness, and the disinclination to practice defensive riding, shifts the blame onto the cyclist. When you decide to engage in the sport of cycling, you're the one who'll pay the steepest price in an accident, regardless of whom is at fault.
The safest posture is to assume the worst from those on the other side. Then, you'll be pleasantly surprised when these drivers do the right thing and, more to the point, you're more likely to arrive home safe and sound and able to ride another day.