Cycling to and from work every day, it’s easy to become comfortable with your route, for the ride to become second nature, but one of the most important things when it comes to cycling safety is being alert and riding with knowledge. Knowledge of your bike, knowledge of the road, and knowledge of cycling with cars. There are so many ways that bicycles and cars can collide, with both minor and major consequences. It’s important to know how to approach certain road and driving situations and to act quickly and intelligently.
Here are 3 road scenarios that you should familiarise yourself with.
1. Driver emerging on your left from an intersecting road, driveway, or parking lot.
This one is notoriously dangerous, as both you and the driver may have little warning. It’s very important to slow down as soon as you see a hazard ahead, but don’t suddenly put the brakes on either, as your tires could lock up. If you don’t have time to break safely, try to pull out further to your right if the road is clear. It is also important to always be highly visible, and especially at night to wear reflective gear to give the driver more warning. If you know your route and any of its hazardous side roads, always ride slowly - it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. Parked car door opens in front of you.
This scenario is used a lot in slap stick comedy, but it is actually a very serious and dangerous situation. If you are riding past parked or stopped cars, try to be far enough to the right that you are giving yourself and the car a door width of space. Also, remember to ride slowly and this will give you more time to react.
3. A car passes you and then immediately tries to turn left.
This is a particularly dangerous one, as drivers assume they will have time to overtake and turn off the road to their left before causing any trouble, but it is not always the case. Make sure you are checking behind you in traffic and try to be aware of cars movements, attach mirrors to your bike if need be. If you see a driver coming up alongside you, make sure you remain alert. If you are riding at night, it is important to have your headlight and reflective gear on, so the car can see you from behind when they try to turn.