How to Avoid Getting Hit By a Car – 5 Tips For a Beginner Cyclist

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Most accidents involving bikers also involve drivers. But drivers aren’t always the ones at fault. The fact is that many cyclists, especially beginners, don’t take bike safety seriously. They just pedal along without a helmet or bright cycling jersey, not paying much attention to the traffic rules, traffic lights or stops. Besides, often they use headphones too. If you follow their example, you are more likely to get hit.

Be a responsible cyclist. Take a few simple safety precautions.

Avoid streets with busy traffic
Avoid streets with busy traffic | Source
Wear a bright cycling jersey
Wear a bright cycling jersey
Take the whole lane instead of the curb
Take the whole lane instead of the curb | Source
Signal turns with your arm
Signal turns with your arm | Source
  1. Avoid streets with busy traffic. As a beginner biker, you will be tempted to follow the same routes that you normally follow when driving – being familiar with them gives you a sense of confidence. But those busy streets are in fact the most dangerous. Stay safe by choosing smaller, quieter streets with fewer cars and pedestrians. Not only is this approach safe, but also fun – you get to explore neighborhoods you’ve never been thru before.

  2. Wear a bright cycling jersey. It’s a simple precaution, but one that can save your life, especially when cycling at night. Wear it during the day as well – cycling jerseys are stylish and good looking nowadays. Don’t buy just any jersey though. Look for one with a strong fluorescent die that is highly visible at night. Drivers appreciate cyclists who wear fluorescent jerseys making it less likely that a crash will take place.

  3. Ride with your lights on. Front and especially rear lights are a must-have when riding at night. You can order them online or at your local bike shop for usually less than $20. Lights, coupled with a good cycling jersey shows drivers where you are on the road and gives them an idea of how much space they need to avoid cyclists. Without a bright jersey and lights you’re almost invisible on the road at night.

  4. Take the whole lane instead of sticking to the right curb. This makes you more visible for the drivers who are ahead of you at intersections. Also, it prevents passing cars from getting too close to you. Make sure though that you only take the whole lane on quieter streets so that you don’t slow down the traffic. In the end, you have to consider the road you’re on – on wide streets with no driveways it’s good to stick to the right side rather than the middle.

  5. Signal all your turns with your arm. It may take some time to get used to it, but once you do, it becomes a reflex. Drivers are less likely to crash into you if you signal a left turn with your left arm, and a right turn with your right arm. Always glance at your mirror before signaling, to make sure no car is passing close to your arm.

In the end, an extra tip: don’t use headphones or smartphones while cycling. They will distract you, making you less aware of your surroundings. You can use a hands free device if you absolutely have to take a call, but it’s best to find a safe place to stop first.

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Comments 4 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

You provide some great tips for beginners on staying safe out there. My husband is a cyclist and it's amazing how much some people hate them. He's had people throw bottles and other trash directly at him out of their car or truck windows and try to spit on him at stop signs. Absolutely filthy.


Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks FlourishAnyway! I'm very sorry to hear how people have been so disrespectful of your husband, it's sad and sometimes scary how people behave! We have seen a big increase in bike lanes here and hopefully that makes a difference!


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia

The invention of bright safety vests and jerseys has certainly made a huge difference to the safety of cyclists. :) Voted up.


Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks LongTimeMother! Agreed, they make a big difference!

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