Being a Bicyclist on the Road

Jun 20

Since the dawn of time, bicyclists and motorists haven’t always known to get along. Bicyclists just want to ride their bicycle, they just want to ride their bike (“Bicycle Race” by Queen) and motorists just want to go “beep beep, beep beep, yeah” (“Drive My Car” by The Beatles)!

I get it. When you are on a bicycle enjoying the freedom of the wind in your hair, you generally don’t get much acknowledgement from those in cars. Sometimes you may even feel as if you are put down by those who are surrounded by their full metal comfort zone. Unfortunately with being a bicyclist, you have to be fully aware of everything that is happening around you because it can be easier for you to be hit. Now, I’m not saying that those in automobiles don’t need to do the same and share the road, but when you are in a vehicle, more people can see (or hear) you easier.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while you soar on your two wheels and pedal through life:

Watch out for road hazards. Roads weren’t created perfectly. There are many potholes that need to be fixed, construction that happens often, loose gravel, animals, etc. that could cause you to crash or be taken of course. Remember to expect the unexpected and always keep control of your bicycle when approaching these situations.

Obey all signals and traffic sign/follow road markings. If you want to be taken seriously as a bicyclist, then you are going to have to follow the rules, just as motorists have to. Obeying all the traffic signs and signals while also following the markings on the road will also keep you safer.

Don’t ride intoxicated. This is not just illegal, it is also highly dangerous. Some may not think anything of it because it is not “drinking and driving,” but it is the same concept. Depending on your state, you may also have your license revoked for doing this.

Protect yourself. Although it is not necessary to wear a helmet after a certain age, protecting yourself is one of the smartest things you can do. No one ever plans to get in a crash, fall off their bicycle, etc. when they go out, but accidents happen. My pop always told me, “better safe than sorry!”

Stay to the right. I’ve see this firsthand: many bicyclists tend to swerve to the left-hand side close to where cars zoom by—not a smart idea! It’s easy to veer off into the lane and be hit. This will help prevent accidents and keep you safer on the road.

Never ride against the flow traffic. Have you ever heard of the saying “go with the flow” or “follow the grain?” This is how you should treat being a bicyclist. Drivers aren’t looking for bicyclists riding the opposite direction they are or on the wrong side of the road.

Use hand signals. These hand signals are the same ones you would use if your blinker wasn’t working in your vehicle, so many people know them already. This will help you protect yourself, be a courtesy to motorists, and obey the law.

Don’t pass on the right-hand side. Just like when you are passing someone in an automobile, you are not supposed to pass on the right. Don’t do this while on a bicycle either! Drivers will most likely not be looking for a bicycle trying to pass them on the right.

Don’t weave, even if through parked cars. You may cause yourself to ride into the curb and come tumbling to the ground. Motorists may also not see you come back into traffic, which could cause an accident.

Watch out for chasing dogs. Silly, right? It’s just like all those movies and cartoons that you see where the dog goes after the mailman. Well, they go after bicyclists as well. As impractical as this may sound, it’s actually not unheard of!

These are just ten of many other things you should be aware of as a bicyclist. Be wary and remember that “safety doesn’t happen by accident!”

One comment

  1. It is great that Cincinnati has taken steps to accommodate its grwnoig cycling population. Bike lanes and road signs can significantly help protect motorists, pedestrians and cyclists by establishing boundaries and notifying drivers of their presence. Obviously, these steps will not prevent all accidents, but studies show that they reduce them significantly.

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