On the Road: Top 6 Biking Tips
Biking through traffic can be quite a thrill! Be safe, be smart with these top 6 tips from cyclists and cycling educators:
- Know that motorists aren’t looking for you.
- Create a “buffer zone.” “Give yourself a buffer zone, especially if there are cars on the right side,” David Bernstein, cyclist, producer and host of The Fred Cast Podcast. “If there are cars stopped in front of you, stop too! There’s a reason.”
- Stay in the lane.“Ride on the right side of the road but bring yourself off the shoulder and come into the first third of the lane,” says Chris Cameron, Commuting Instructor, Cascade Bicycling Club, Seattle WA. “Where you see the tire marks of cars, ride there. What it does is put you in traffic and makes you a part of traffic – it makes the car go around you. When you do that, when you ride like that, you’ll feel much safer.”
- Watch out for cars. Cars are the number one cause of crashes. Cars won’t always see cyclists when they’re making a right or left-hand turn. “The car or driver thinks they can beat you and they underestimate the speed at which a bicycle can travel,” says Cameron. Watch out when you come to driveways, intersections and passing lanes.
- Look ahead. “When you’re on a bicycle, it’s natural for your focus to dip down 10 -15 feet in front of you, but then it’s too late to see that pothole,” says Cameron. “Look down 50-100 yards in front of you – you can evaluate everything’s that in front of you. When you look far down the road, you can prepare for emergency stopping.”
- Help out fellow cyclists. “When passing other cyclists, call out “On Your Left” – don’t pass them too closely,” says Bernstein. “If you know someone’s behind you and you see a road hazard – pedestrian, dog, pothole – point that out. You can do that with a hand signal or voice signal.”
WHN Expert TIP – Listen While You Ride: “If the bike starts making an unusual noise or if the chain starts to squeak, then look for the source of the problem or take the bike to a shop for a checkup. Let experience be your guide. If anything feels or sounds unusual, check it out. It’s better to take care of the small problems before they become bigger.” Doug Shidell, avid cyclist and publisher of Bikeverywhere.com.