How to Avoid Getting Hit By a Car – 5 Tips For a Beginner Cyclist
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.
- What can you do to defend yourself against distracted drivers?
Cyclist can defend themselves against distracted drivers by using bike safety gear, staying alert to road direction, using a mirror and carrying a boat horn.
- How Safe is Cycling? It's Hard to Say
Until his bike slid out of control while he was going 35 miles an hour downhill around a sharp turn, Dr. Harold Schwartz thought cycling accidents were something that happened to other people.
- Bicycle Safety: How to Not Get Hit by Cars
Ten ways you can get hit by cars (with pictures) and meaningful ways to avoid them. Not your typical lame Bike Safety page.
- Bicycles Are Vehicles and Must Follow the Same Rules
Bike safety should be a priority for you when pedaling on the street.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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