Cycling Safety is Your Responsibility
Safe cycling is the responsibility of the cyclist not the motorist and if you knew the opinion of many of the motorist that are driving around you you wouldn’t want to leave your safety in their incapable hands.
Know your hand signals
Just as a working turn signal or break light on a car is important to highway safety so is the use of hand signals when riding your bike on the open highway.
If you are driving your car behind someone and you are making the decision whether or not to try to past them the first thing that you will be looking for is their turn signal. You do this because you wouldn’t want them to turn in front of you they didn’t realize that you were trying to pass them. That is the same reason that you do not want to make a turn without using a turn signal with your arm when you are riding your bike on the highway.
Hand signal safety on bicycles are probably one of the most neglected safety rules of cycling. It is my opinion that anyone breaking these rules while cycling should receive a citation from law enforcement just as a car driver would. This would increase the cyclist awareness for the need to use them.
Here is a short video that will demonstrate the safe use of cycling hand signals:
Know When to Stop
Cyclist should make it a habit to always stop for all stop signs and red lights. I know that it seems easier to just coast really slow, look both ways, not unclip your feet from your pedals and just go. But mark my words that once that has become a habit there will be one time that you will do it and someone will be coming and you will get all confused trying to unclip your feet in time to stop and there will either be a close call or you will have used up your one and only chance to do it safely. Once that opportunity has been used it can’t be taken back.
Please take time to slow down, unclip, and stop so that you will have a nice safe ride for you and all of the cars around you.
Be Aware of Where you are on the Road
Defensive driving is one of the most important aspects of safe cycling there is. We like to think that all of the cars out there on the roads are paying attention to us and realize the potential for hurting us. That just isn’t realistic. Everyone takes their eyes off of the road sometime.
That being understood means that you as the cyclist should be paying close attention to the motorist on the road as well and you too should realize the potential for them hurting you. You should also be paying attention to the road in front of you. I always make it a habit to look at least ten feet in front of me for pot holes or any debris that could cause me to have a wreck or to dart into traffic trying to dodge something. As well you should relay this information to any other cyclist that may be riding in a pace line behind you. Here is a short video that will demonstrate how to signal other riders in your pace line of road hazards.
Last but not least there is helmets. Originally I was going to recommend that you know the helmet laws in whatever state that you might be riding in but now I just want to tell you that it is simply foolish to tempt fate by riding without a helmet. You just never know when having that helmet on will save your life. Don’t ride without one please.
That’s all for now. See you on the road.