Don’t expect motorists to see you.
Inattentive drivers mean the key to safety is being assertive and using the rhythm of traffic to your advantage. But as your bicycle carries you away from town, the safer place to be becomes the side of the road. Likewise, plan to dodge cars in intersections even when you have the right-of-way.
Look behind you.
Look over your shoulder at every driveway, intersection, and road hazard. Yes, every single one. A common car-on-bike incident is the right hook. This is when a car passes a cyclist, slows to turn right, and obliviously crosses the cyclist’s path on the edge of the street.
Watch for oncoming traffic.
Passing motorists often accelerate into the opposite lane without looking for cyclists in their path. Similarly, do not make fast right turns onto two-lane roads without considering what might be might be fast approaching on the wrong side.
Avoid riding into the sunset.
Riding into the sun makes you virtually invisible to motorists. If you’re stuck heading west at the end of the day, try taking a meandering route. And when the sun’s at your
back, keep in mind that road users ahead will have difficult time seeing you.
Pause in high-visibility places.
If you must stop to change clothes, eat food, or make a repair, only do so a safe distance from blind corners or hillcrests. Also, be sure to move as far away from the road surface as you can.
Don’t antagonize motorists.
While there are many drivers who behave badly toward cyclists, fight the urge to yell or make an obscene gesture. Especially on isolated roads, being the bigger person and letting incidents like these roll off your back is the only way to stay safe, have fun, and protect our image as cyclists.
Be a Good Ambassador.
All cyclists are ambassadors for cycling as we travel along the roadways and through the many communities along the way. Be especially considerate of our friends and neighbors who share this special route with us. Among other things, this means do not hog the road; let local traffic get through to and from their homes. Follow all traffic signals and laws.
Excerpted, in part, from Bicycling Magazine (www.bicycling.com)