It's no secret that we like bikes here on Re-Nest — we love the designs and of course that biking is an eco-friendly mode of transportation. Unfortunately bicycling can be dangerous, especially when maneuvering around traffic and through drivers and pedestrians who aren't expecting you. We know our fare share of people who've been injured on their bikes, that's why it's important to remember a few simple tips when in traffic to keep bicycling enjoyable and safe.
Discovery's green blog, Planet Green, along with Biking Toronto, has compiled a great list of tips and secrets to easily and safely navigate the streets on two wheels. Here are a few that we think are most helpful:
Play By The Rules: You and your bike constitute "a vehicle" according to the Highway Traffic Act. This means that you have to abide to the same rules that drivers do. This means stopping at red lights, stopping for people at crosswalks, and not passing open streetcar doors....Why should they treat you like a vehicle with a right to the road if you don't behave like one?
Signal Sensibly: The signals we were taught make no sense; they were invented for cars when there were no brake lights or turn signals (or they were broken) and the driver could only use a left arm. Most have forgotten that an arm pointing up means a left turn or down means stopping... just point in the direction you are going. Makes sense.
Ride in a Straight Line: Don't ride in the gutters and then swing out into the road to avoid the drains. This throws drivers off-guard because they aren't thinking about the drains and aren't expecting you to do this. There's a very good chance you'll get honked at if you do this, because nothing scares a driver more than a cyclist swerving in front of their car....This also applies when there are a lot of parked cars… instead of swerving in towards the curb between parked cars before swerving back out again, keep riding in a straight line… it makes you more predictable to car drivers.
Avoid the Right Hook: One of the most common places that car-bike collisions happen is at intersections, and more commonly, when a car is turning right... Cars, but especially buses and trucks, just can't see you and don't expect you when you are between their vehicle and the curb. Some cities are experimenting with bike boxes so that cyclists are out in front, but this is such a common way of getting killed.
For the complete list of tips and explanations, visit Planet Green.
(Images via Biking Toronto & Planet Green)