Whether you’re one of those new cyclists, an experienced bike commuter, or one of the poor souls who simply has to drive a car that day, the following tips will help us all enjoy safer streets:
Tips for Assertive Cycling
- When merging left (either to pass a stopped vehicle or to make a left turn) first look, signal, then move into the flow of traffic. Start looking over your left shoulder about 200 feet from where you plan to merge, and wait for a gap in traffic. When you find one, be confident and consistent in your movements. Don’t swerve! Predictability is key. If a driver lets you in, acknowledge them.
- Always take the lane if you are moving at the speed of traffic, even if the lane is wide enough to be shared. It’s the safest place to be. If there are cars needing to pass, and there’s room for bikes and cars to travel safely side by side, then move over (but never ride closer than four feet to parked cars). If the lane is too narrow to share, hold your ground in the middle of the lane and ride predictably, no matter what your speed.
- If there is a line of vehicles turning right, and you need to go straight, pass them on the left if possible.
- Use all the clues available to you to determine what a driver plans to do-listen to engine noises, look at tires to see which way they’re turning, and most of all make eye contact with drivers!
Tips for Respectful Driving
- Don’t be a bully and insist on passing cyclists just so you can get to the red light first. Take a deep breath and ease up on the accelerator.
- Step on the brake. If in doubt about whether you can get by a cyclist, slow down and wait. Too many drivers squeeze past with insufficient room.
- Respect cyclists’ right to the lane; in the eyes of the law they have the same rights as a car.