Some people say that they do not like cycling because they do not like the idea of cycling in traffic. However, many cyclists use busy roads every day with no problems. This is because they cycle safely. Once you know the basics of road cycling, you can use a bike for everyday journeys to school, work, or even just to visit friends!
Here are some simple road safety tips you can follow for a great cycling experience:
#01. Know and follow the rules.
The rules of the road are for everyone. They exist to make us predictable to all the others on the road. Bicyclists who violate these rules are more likely to experience accidents, and they are also disruptive to fellow road users. Here are the basic rules you should keep in mind:
*First come, first served.
*Ride the same direction as traffic – always.
*Yield to traffic before entering a road.
*When changing lanes, yield to overtaking traffic.
*Obey traffic control devices.
#02. Ride on the road.
Adult bicyclists should avoid riding on the sidewalk. Sidewalk cycling only increases conflict for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike. Not only can sidewalk cycling be inconvenient and slow, it also increases the risk of being hit by a car because motorists leaving driveways and using cross streets don’t expect to see you there. There are also many hazards such as uneven slabs, cracks, poles, and branches.
#03. Integrate into the intersections.
When integrating into the intersections, always use the lane that serves your destination. When turning from left turn lanes, always turn left. You should never ride straight in a right-turn-only lane. When you are approaching an intersection in a bike lane or a wide lane, make sure to merge left into the main traffic flow or lane.
#04. Ride big.
Some roads have lanes that are not wide enough to be shared safely by cars and bikes side-by-side. When the lane is not wide enough to be shared, cyclists are allowed the full use of that lane. When you know that it is not wide enough to be shared with a fellow motorist, communicate with the motorist by riding far enough left to show that there is not enough room for the width of a car between you and the lane line. Florida law restricts you from impeding traffic but you can take the lane whenever it is narrower than 14 feet.
Riding big lets you be visible and it encourages other motorists to give you a generous passing clearance.
Communication is the key – always. You are part of the system, so it is your responsibility to be predictable to others. Signal lane changes and turns. When other bicyclists and motorists know what you want to do, they will give way for you to do it.
Remember, you should always be a responsible cyclist. Have fun riding!