Author Topic: Cycling Safety Practices  (Read 9519 times)

johnny847

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Cycling Safety Practices
« on: October 29, 2014, 08:47:15 PM »
I was thinking of putting up this thread recently, and it was kind of spurred on by a related thread on a increase in cyclist deaths (but it's not compared to the cyclist population, so it may just be because more people are cycling).

What cycling safety practices do you follow? For me:

1) Follow all the rules of the road. That means stop at all stop signs, red lights, etc.
2) Follow up to #1 - DO NOT ride on the sidewalk (unless you're in one of the few states where this is legal. I think that's still a mistake, but apparently it's allowed in a handful of states)
3) Ride in the bike lane when available. At least in my state, you're obligated to be in it if it exists, unless you're turning left.
4) If it is at least a two lane road, and there is no bike lane, ride in the center or left of center to assert yourself over the lane and to try to prevent drivers from clipping you as they pass. This is legal in my state, but it my not necessarily be legal in yours (although I certainly hope it is.)
5) Avoid one lane roads when possible. If I'm on a one lane road, I stay to the right, but I'm usually not comfortable doing that. I only do it because otherwise drivers behind me would get pissed.
6) I installed an air horn (Delta Airzound bike horn) to be able to honk at drivers if needed. It gets really loud, 115 dB. I high recommend it!
EDIT: 7) Do not use headphones while riding. I'm pretty sure in most states it's illegal to have both headphones in, and in some states it's illegal to use headphones at all while driving (and most states just say that cyclists have to follow car driving rules, with a handful of exceptions).

When riding at night:
1) Wear a reflective vest. I have one that is just an "X," so it's not exactly a vest, but it means I can just wear whatever layers I want underneath.
2) Use a headlight
3) Use a taillight


Anything I missed or other suggestions?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 09:20:42 PM by johnny847 »

franklin w. dixon

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 09:22:47 PM »
1) Only ride when I'm pretty drunk, not when I'm ultra drunk.

2) I can't think of any others

jaboc84

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 10:00:41 PM »
Pay attention to your route. Taking a slightly longer route sometimes means a much friendlier riding environment.

gimp

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2014, 10:09:34 PM »
inb4blamegame

But on a serious note, the closer you resemble a christmas tree, the happier I am.

Cressida

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2014, 10:18:43 PM »
DO NOT ride on the sidewalk (unless you're in one of the few states where this is legal. I think that's still a mistake, but apparently it's allowed in a handful of states)

I can see hopping onto the sidewalk for a couple of blocks if it's a particularly dangerous stretch on the road (as long as you yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk). But yes, in general, cyclists should avoid the sidewalk. The other day I was minding my own business walking to the bus stop and some dude blows by me riding a bike AND WHEELING A SECOND BIKE ALONG NEXT TO HIM. It's a pretty wide sidewalk, but a very busy one. WTF?

GuitarStv

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 06:06:19 AM »
Visiblity (about half my cycling takes place a couple hours before sunrise):
- I started rocking two front and two rear lights this year.  No more fear of batteries dying mid ride and being invisible!  Also, with everything going, my bike is stupendously bright.
- Reflective stuff: patches on jacket, patches on panniers, leg bands, reflectors on bike, plenty of reflective tape on bike, extra reflectors clipped on to panniers
- Bright stuff: high-viz jacket

General Cycling:
- Ride in the road always
- Ride in the center of the lane when necessary (no shoulder, obstacles on the side, etc.)
- Follow the rules of the road and common sense . . . bike on the correct side, use bike lanes if available, stop at traffic lights, signal turns, no music or other distractions while cycling.
- Don't be a dick to motorists (requires being aware of the vehicles around you and trying to accommodate them so long as it doesn't affect your safety)

In all honesty, I don't have much use for a horn.  My voice is quicker and safer to use (hands on brakes at all times this way), and I only find myself yelling probably less than once a month.

johnny847

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 06:57:56 AM »
The bike horn is useful when you need to get the attention of drivers who are further away, ie, somebody turning a left on green. I've had this happen before - probably because he thought "oh a bicyclist, they can't be going fast" when in fact I was going 20+ mph.

I was thinking about getting two lights in front and rear. I'm debating that vs buying a USB battery pack (my lights charge via USB) to put in my saddle bag. (EDIT: Not sure why this didn't occur to me before, but a USB battery pack would have far more battery capacity than a second light. Also, my handlebars are crowded enough as it is....)

I do listen to music while riding, but that's with a cell phone mount on speakers (I have a HTC One, so the speakers are actually decent). I say to myself that I'm not distracted, but who knows really? At the very least, though, I can still hear everything around me.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 07:05:40 AM by johnny847 »

furrychickens

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 07:19:12 AM »
Be courageous enough to cycle on any kind of street you're allowed to. Recently I've had to make a few rides with my kids where riding on arterials without bike lanes was only feasible option. Taking the plunge and getting them acclimated to city biking has paid major dividends. Yes, we hold up some traffic, but cars can SEE us.

When in doubt, act like a car, not a pedestrian.

Less of a safety issue, but especially with kids, always pack an extra layer when it's cold. I love my huge panniers. I "stock" extra layers and alternate weight gloves.

Carlsky

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2014, 07:29:29 AM »
I am surprised to read so many people commenting on not wearing headphones.  I commonly wear headphones when riding and never thought they were a problem.  I will look into a handlebar mount for the iPhone and will try it out. 

Alternatively, part of my commute is along a 2 lane road.  I hang to the edge of the road.  Should I be riding in the right tire track or go all the way over to the left tire track?  FYI, I ride in Canada.

GuitarStv

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2014, 07:43:08 AM »
I am surprised to read so many people commenting on not wearing headphones.  I commonly wear headphones when riding and never thought they were a problem.

Eh, I'm not so concerned about this if out on a quite bike path or a lonely road somewhere . . . but in busy city traffic I rely on my sense of hearing to place cars around me pretty often.

Eggman111

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2014, 07:56:04 AM »


Alternatively, part of my commute is along a 2 lane road.  I hang to the edge of the road.  Should I be riding in the right tire track or go all the way over to the left tire track?  FYI, I ride in Canada.

If there's no bike lane, I ride about 1/3 into the lane, from the outer edge, most of the time. That's probably around the right tire track. I move a bit in or out depending on debris, rough patches, or potholes.

If I think I need to be more visible to cars coming out of driveways or cross roads, I will pick the middle of the lane, because that is where most people look.

Johnez

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2014, 08:16:07 AM »
Many bikers I've known and read in the forums here, and even myself complain how hard it is to ride bikes safely.  I tend to believe that a cyclists biggest danger is himself.  Not following the laws.  Not paying attention.  Not being aware.  Not being visible.  Not using common sense.  Not being sober.  I think in this comfortable and relatively safe world we live in a lot of us lose that sense of urgency in keeping ourselves alive.  It all boils down to self preservation.

Just what I do:

Follow all laws.  This means, riding on the CORRECT side of the road, with lights, helmet and stopping at all lights and stop signs.  I know it's a pain to come to a full stop, but in order to get respect ya gotta show respect.  If you're willing to take the time to know and follow the rules, generally that bleeds over into riding safely.

Also, I will not ride without a mirror.  I find it plays into the number one thing people can do to keep themselves safe-paying attention.  Lawmakers and dogooders focus on helmets, but the fact is that is the LAST line of defense against untimely death/injury.  Better to be proactive about it.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 08:18:34 AM by Johnez »

furrychickens

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2014, 08:33:11 AM »
I will look into a handlebar mount for the iPhone and will try it out. 

I personally like armbands much better. Bonus: if you jog/run/hike you can still use it, unlike a handlebar mount. Plus, a lot of the handlebar cases I read had multiple reviews where the phone fell out and into traffic. Yeah...not gonna take that risk.

I have an HTC One, which has fantastic speakers, so I just play music out loud. No need for headphones, and I have great situational awareness. Plus, if my kids are riding close enough, they get to enjoy the tunes too :)

Not sure if they have an iPhone case, but I have a Mediabridge brand one. It's a real basic silicone case with an elastic armband. It was $10 or so and I've had it six months now.

johnny847

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2014, 09:15:29 AM »
Alternatively, part of my commute is along a 2 lane road.  I hang to the edge of the road.  Should I be riding in the right tire track or go all the way over to the left tire track?  FYI, I ride in Canada.

I typically ride center or left tire track, to help prevent drivers from clipping me as I pass, and also to give myself room to dodge obstacles to the right if need be.

I personally like armbands much better. Bonus: if you jog/run/hike you can still use it, unlike a handlebar mount. Plus, a lot of the handlebar cases I read had multiple reviews where the phone fell out and into traffic. Yeah...not gonna take that risk.

Yea I was concerned about that too. I got a waterproof one so the phone is zipped inside a case. Of course, there's still a possibility that the zippered case can fall off...but I've tried armbands before when I used to run more often and I didn't like them. To each their own I guess.

TrMama

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2014, 03:08:26 PM »
Arm signals. Learn them. Use them. I use these ones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiwBpJLp4DA

Further, when I have to take the lane AND slow down or stop to turn left I alternately use the stop and left signals several times. When I use the stop signal I push my hand back as if I'm pushing away the car behind me. It looks like a lot of wild arm waving and really gets drivers attention. They give me a lot of space.

Also, when I do yell at a driver to get their attention, hard experience has taught me not to swear or get upset. I now only yell, "Hey!" and do my best to get out of the way.

I am surprised to read so many people commenting on not wearing headphones.  I commonly wear headphones when riding and never thought they were a problem.  I will look into a handlebar mount for the iPhone and will try it out. 

Alternatively, part of my commute is along a 2 lane road.  I hang to the edge of the road.  Should I be riding in the right tire track or go all the way over to the left tire track?  FYI, I ride in Canada.

Always ride far enough from the edge of the road that you have some space to scoot right if a car crowds you. Never put yourself in a spot were you have no escape. There is no fear like the one of being squeezed between a speeding dumptruck and the curb while travelling 30km/hr. In areas where it's not safe for a car to pass you move further into the center of the lane so they can't pass you. When it's safe again, move back closer to the edge so they can get by.

I never, ever have any music or other noise when I'm riding. I can tell a lot about the impatience level of the driver behind me based on how they're accelerating/decelerating behind me. I can even tell how loudly they're playing the stereo in their car. Crazy impatient guy behind me? Pull over a bit to let him pass.

Javelin

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2014, 03:13:09 PM »
I commute through the west side of Chicago every day. My rules are as follows:

1. Don't get hit.
2. Stop for nothing in the ghetto. NOTHING!
3. Ride with a buddy.


Javelin

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2014, 03:14:26 PM »
I almost forgot... assume nobody can see you

mlipps

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2014, 03:26:44 PM »
The most dangerous thing I see from other bicyclists is being UNpredictable. Like, they've been in the bike lane for 4 blocks and then suddenly dodge in front of the car right behind them, probably to avoid a pothole or something. Or, they look like they're going to stop at a stop sign, but then decide at the last minute to run it. That kind of thing. As much as you can be predictable (and you're most predictable when you are acting like a car & following the rules of the road), the safer you will be.

Oh, and for fuck's sake, can we start doling out face punches to the morons who bike going THE WRONG WAY DOWN THE STREET??? Sometimes IN THE BIKE LANE??? Maybe that's just a Chicago thing?

dorothyc

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2014, 03:59:24 PM »
can we start doling out face punches to the morons who bike going THE WRONG WAY DOWN THE STREET??? Sometimes IN THE BIKE LANE??? Maybe that's just a Chicago thing?

I've seen that in Los Angeles too, and not just on one way streets where it is permissible.

http://la-bike.org/resources/california-bicycle-laws

EastCoastMike

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2014, 04:17:20 PM »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2014, 04:43:26 PM »
Oh, and for fuck's sake, can we start doling out face punches to the morons who bike going THE WRONG WAY DOWN THE STREET??? Sometimes IN THE BIKE LANE??? Maybe that's just a Chicago thing?

My closest call ever was a woman riding fairly swiftly towards me in the bike lane on the wrong side of the road, and not even looking where she was going. I had almost no room to swerve and passed her with barely an inch to spare. She only actually looked up when she heard me shouting about two feet away. To this day I have no idea what the hell she though she was doing.

+1 to acting predictably. I often argue with a car-driving friend of mine about whether people should be allowed to cycle on the road, and the number one thing that always comes up is cyclists swerving suddenly or turning without indicating - and what is a car driver supposed to do in that situation?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 04:45:23 PM by shelivesthedream »

johnny847

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2014, 04:44:11 PM »
Arm signals. Learn them. Use them. I use these ones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiwBpJLp4DA

Haha yea I forgot to mention arm signals! They're pretty important (although sometimes it can be dangerous if you're approaching a section of road with a lot of potholes). I almost lost control of my bike while arm signalling when I was going downhill 20+ mph. I probably should have slowed down first...

The most dangerous thing I see from other bicyclists is being UNpredictable. Like, they've been in the bike lane for 4 blocks and then suddenly dodge in front of the car right behind them, probably to avoid a pothole or something. Or, they look like they're going to stop at a stop sign, but then decide at the last minute to run it. That kind of thing. As much as you can be predictable (and you're most predictable when you are acting like a car & following the rules of the road), the safer you will be.
I agree with the sentiment, but as you allude to, it's sometimes unavoidable, because we do need to avoid potholes sometimes. But certainly, when at all possible, being predictable is the way to go.

Oh, and for fuck's sake, can we start doling out face punches to the morons who bike going THE WRONG WAY DOWN THE STREET??? Sometimes IN THE BIKE LANE??? Maybe that's just a Chicago thing?

I wholeheartedly agree. I don't understand how anybody can think this is a good idea...
I also saw this moron cycling at night with no taillight, headlight, or reflective vest (all he had was that dinky little reflector on his seatpost). This idiot is just asking to get hit by a car.

Eric

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2014, 04:49:08 PM »
I am surprised to read so many people commenting on not wearing headphones.  I commonly wear headphones when riding and never thought they were a problem.

Eh, I'm not so concerned about this if out on a quite bike path or a lonely road somewhere . . . but in busy city traffic I rely on my sense of hearing to place cars around me pretty often.

Same here.  I listen to the traffic around me to help me to help know where the cars are without having to look.

EastCoastMike

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2014, 06:34:06 PM »
I've never understood the practice of riding against traffic.  I see it occasionally, particularly in the city.  I agree with MLipps, that bicyclists often become their own worst enemy by doing unpredictable, stupid stuff. 

I don't buy into the anti-bike fear-mongering going on in certain media sites, but I do expect bicycling fatalities to rise as more inexperienced riders start riding.  Once drivers become comfortable with bicyclists around, and the dumb bicyclists have weeded themselves out through natural selection, I can see fatalities dropping to close to European levels.   

Paul der Krake

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2014, 06:42:59 PM »
Flashing lights, front and back, all day, erry day. A cyclist was killed litterallly in front of my apartment complex just last week. The driver was made a left and didn't see the cyclist coming from the opposite direction. In this day of dirt cheap LEDs lights with long battery life, there's no excuse not to.

cacaoheart

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2014, 08:43:52 PM »
Similar to what others have said, I wear a reflective yellow vest day or night, a helmet with a mirror and at night a cygolite expilion 850 light on the helmet set to flash at ~500 lumens, a second light on my handlebars set to flash, a flashing red tail light, and a string of green LED lights in my front wheel. The green Wheel Brightz lights have gotten me a lot of positive attention. People yell out that they like my bike and when I've parked people have stopped to say how well the wheel lights helped them see me and asked to take photos of it to share with other cyclists.

With the 400+ lumen helmet light I can look at people as they're pulling onto the road and they suddenly stop or provide room.

Today I installed a Delta Airzound air horn and feel my safety set up is fairly complete now, though I may opt for a brighter tail light and an extra lithium battery for my helmet light. Maybe a mustache flag on the back ;-) I bike to work, to school, and for most of my errands now, day or night, typically with a yellow reflective ortlieb pannier bag on the side. I use hand signals, ride in the road, with traffic, move predictably, and make sure to stay far enough away from parked cars on the side that I don't have to swerve farther into the road if someone opens their door. Experiencing that once years ago was enough.

I don't use clip on pedals because I like being able to immediately put a foot down if necessary, though the extra efficiency is tempting.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 12:04:34 PM by cacaoheart »

m8547

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2014, 10:33:41 PM »
For night time visibility, a front light is critical and a rear light is good too. It's generally easier for drivers to judge your distance if you have solid lights, but flashing lights are more visible to peripheral vision, so I like to have both. Also, having a light with a physically large reflector or illuminated area helps with visibility. Notice how all car lights are a few inches by a few inches, or at least about 6 inches wide if it's a thin light bar. The tiny pinpoint LEDs on bike lights can be hard to see no matter how bright they are, and they make it hard to judge your distance compared to larger lights. You can get LED truck tail lights cheap online and wire them to a 12V source. In addition to light, reflectors on your clothing, helmet, and various places on your bike will help drivers judge your size, which helps them determine your speed and distance.

Using lights in the day is helpful, too. I have Reelights on my bike. They need no batteries and I don't need to switch them on, so they are perfect daytime running lights. They aren't bright enough alone for night use, but they add enough flashing in addition to my solid lights to make me more visible. The only downside is they are expensive.

I like my Alert Shirt vest for heavy traffic or at night. It's the most visible vest I could find, designed for construction workers around traffic over 55mph, but it's perfect for biking too. Note that the sizes run huge, and the "medium" is bigger than a normal men's medium T-shirt (it looks like it's equivalent to about a L or XL). The reflective material is good for a limited number of washings, so reflective clothing may need to be replaced periodically. 3M makes iron-on reflective tape you can put on clothes that don't have reflectors or refresh worn out reflectors, but I haven't tried it.
http://alertshirt.com/wiraja.html

DOT conspicuity tape is good for adding reflectiveness to your bike or helmet, and you can sometimes find it cheap. It has strong adhesive, but it doesn't conform well to curved surfaces like bike tubes, so it might peel up. But it's really reflective and if you don't mind the edges peeling, it probably won't fall off completely. A single 18" strip was enough to get lots of coverage on my bike.

Tires with reflective sidewalls are good for adding more visibility, and they look like a bike to cars illuminating you from the side, which is good. When I'm driving at night and I see a bike, it often takes me some time to realize that it's a bike because it's hard to see the shape or outline in the dark.

GuitarStv

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2014, 05:47:25 AM »
Arm signals. Learn them. Use them.

Agreed on the arm signals.  I use them all the time to signal turns (although don't really see much point in signalling a stop.  99% of the time I'm only stopping for a red light or stop sign, so don't signal these).  It's remarkable how rarely I've seen other cyclists signal turns.

Wildflame

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2014, 06:38:58 AM »
It is not legal to ride on the footpath here unless a kid or accompanying a kid, but I do it anyway at two particularly nasty local intersections. I would generally describe the conditions when it is appropriate to ride on the footpath as follows:
- Crossing an intersection that is not safe to ride through due to blind spots / insufficient road space
- Travelling at no faster than a rapid walk (~6 kph / 4 mph). This one is critical - you want to basically be a bigger, fatter pedestrian. Anyone riding above 10kph on the footpath is an arsehole who is going to get himself or someone else hurt.

This is one instance in which I would gladly cop a fine if picked up, because I'd rather be out of pocket than out of spleen.
Weirdly, despite several patrol cars witnessing me riding on the footpath across those intersections on different occasions, I've never been stopped for it.

Otherwise, behave like a car, and assume other drivers have not seen you until proven otherwise.

GuitarStv

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2014, 06:54:27 AM »
If you're already going the speed of a pedestrian on the footpath, why not simply dismount and walk your bike . . . thereby becoming a pedestrian?  Then there's no concern of a fine as you're following the law and being safe.

hyla

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2014, 06:18:56 PM »
- Good lights (I have a hub dynamo to power them)
- signal turns, being predictable is important

Also, when cars try to be nice and wave me to go when I don't have the right of way, I don't go.  A few years ago, I crossed a through street after a driver waved at me to go ahead, only to have another car pass him (illegally) on the right, stop short to narrowly avoid hitting me, and get rear ended by the next car behind.  One person waving you ahead says nothing about whether the cars in the other lane will stop, and right of way rules exist for a reason, to make vehicle movements and yielding standard and predicatable.

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2014, 08:41:32 AM »
Never ride on the sidewalk, and really never if there are parked cars - you are not at all visible to drivers.  The one time I almost hit a cyclist I was turning left into a driveway and the cyclist was on the sidewalk, hidden by parked cars.  I managed to stop in time, but it was not fun for either of us.

Obey the traffic rules - I drive in Ottawa sometimes and I see lots of bad driving - cars, of course, and cyclists.  It amazes me we don't have more cyclist deaths, give the bad/stupid behaviour I see.

I wish pedestrians would follow some of the same rules of visibility.  We just went back to Standard Time, which means sunset is at 4:45 today.  Dark streets + dark clothing = invisible pedestrian.  Even a light coloured jacket would be a big help.   We warn everyone to be sure their kids are visible for Halloween, why not point out that everyone should be visible all the time?

johnny847

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2014, 08:48:08 AM »
- Good lights (I have a hub dynamo to power them)
- signal turns, being predictable is important

Also, when cars try to be nice and wave me to go when I don't have the right of way, I don't go.  A few years ago, I crossed a through street after a driver waved at me to go ahead, only to have another car pass him (illegally) on the right, stop short to narrowly avoid hitting me, and get rear ended by the next car behind.  One person waving you ahead says nothing about whether the cars in the other lane will stop, and right of way rules exist for a reason, to make vehicle movements and yielding standard and predicatable.

I've noticed this too sometimes. The driver thinks they're being nice, but really, they're messing up the normal flow of traffic.

TrMama

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2014, 11:45:44 AM »
Also, when cars try to be nice and wave me to go when I don't have the right of way, I don't go.  A few years ago, I crossed a through street after a driver waved at me to go ahead, only to have another car pass him (illegally) on the right, stop short to narrowly avoid hitting me, and get rear ended by the next car behind.  One person waving you ahead says nothing about whether the cars in the other lane will stop, and right of way rules exist for a reason, to make vehicle movements and yielding standard and predicatable.

I've noticed this too sometimes. The driver thinks they're being nice, but really, they're messing up the normal flow of traffic.

Yes. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where drivers are more often too nice to cyclists, rather than being rude to us. However, when a driver tries to give me the right of way when he legally has the right of way I don't take it. I just stop and wait, or stop and shake my head no. As others have noted, one driver messing up the normal order of things, just confuses any other drivers and it's the cyclist who can pay the price.

For anyone looking for reflective shirts, vests, etc. I saw some in the men's department at Walmart last week.

Johnez

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2014, 05:08:38 PM »

Also, when cars try to be nice and wave me to go when I don't have the right of way, I don't go.  A few years ago, I crossed a through street after a driver waved at me to go ahead, only to have another car pass him (illegally) on the right, stop short to narrowly avoid hitting me, and get rear ended by the next car behind.  One person waving you ahead says nothing about whether the cars in the other lane will stop, and right of way rules exist for a reason, to make vehicle movements and yielding standard and predicatable.

Generally I ignore their offer. It's nice but creating danger. I either look ahead or go through my bag till they relent.

m8547

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2014, 09:32:08 PM »

Also, when cars try to be nice and wave me to go when I don't have the right of way, I don't go.  A few years ago, I crossed a through street after a driver waved at me to go ahead, only to have another car pass him (illegally) on the right, stop short to narrowly avoid hitting me, and get rear ended by the next car behind.  One person waving you ahead says nothing about whether the cars in the other lane will stop, and right of way rules exist for a reason, to make vehicle movements and yielding standard and predicatable.

Generally I ignore their offer. It's nice but creating danger. I either look ahead or go through my bag till they relent.

I had a car try to wave me to go today, and I corrected them by pointing for them to go as if I was directing traffic, which is a lot more assertive than a wave! But then I immediately regretted it, just this once, because there was a long line of cars behind them, traffic trying to pull out of the side street we were both trying to turn on (I was trying to make a left, they were oncoming and making a right), and traffic behind me. That left me in the middle of the road with heavy (but slow) traffic for a minute while I waited for a break. But normally I hate when cars wave for me to go because I don't want people to treat me differently on a bike and because it's confusing and dangerous.

As a pedestrian I've been in some awkward situations where one car will stop for me to cross a muli-lane road at a crosswalk, but the other lane won't stop. It's not safe to start to cross until all the traffic stops, so I just stand there on the sidewalk. Crosswalks and multi-lane roads don't seem to work well together.

AllChoptUp

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2014, 08:34:06 AM »
I love the flashing light recommendations, thanks. Just ordered a set of LED spoke lights to brighten it up at night. My rig has a huge plastic cargo bin on the back...it's very visible during the day. Think I'll add some reflective tape to it though...can't hurt. Maybe a smiley face?

johnny847

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2014, 08:35:24 AM »
I love the flashing light recommendations, thanks. Just ordered a set of LED spoke lights to brighten it up at night. My rig has a huge plastic cargo bin on the back...it's very visible during the day. Think I'll add some reflective tape to it though...can't hurt. Maybe a smiley face?

How about a mustache? =P

DoubleDown

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2014, 12:18:08 PM »
8) I like what others here have suggested about mounting a camera on their helmets. There have been so many confrontations with drivers described in other threads, that it seems like a good way to deter problems from arising or at least escalating.

Beric01

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2014, 12:31:44 PM »
I am surprised to read so many people commenting on not wearing headphones.  I commonly wear headphones when riding and never thought they were a problem.

Eh, I'm not so concerned about this if out on a quite bike path or a lonely road somewhere . . . but in busy city traffic I rely on my sense of hearing to place cars around me pretty often.

Same here.  I listen to the traffic around me to help me to help know where the cars are without having to look.

Fully agree! Having headphones-free ears is a safety issue. I can watch the road in front of me while hearing cars come up from behind me. My ears are amazing tuned to this - I can usually even hear the Priuses and Teslas. Besides, it's the law to not have both ears covered while operating a vehicle.

Excellent post, OP! I'm especially with you on following all rules of the road. I am looking at what reflective vest to purchase right now.

johnny847

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2014, 12:39:48 PM »
I am surprised to read so many people commenting on not wearing headphones.  I commonly wear headphones when riding and never thought they were a problem.

Eh, I'm not so concerned about this if out on a quite bike path or a lonely road somewhere . . . but in busy city traffic I rely on my sense of hearing to place cars around me pretty often.

Same here.  I listen to the traffic around me to help me to help know where the cars are without having to look.

Fully agree! Having headphones-free ears is a safety issue. I can watch the road in front of me while hearing cars come up from behind me. My ears are amazing tuned to this - I can usually even hear the Priuses and Teslas. Besides, it's the law to not have both ears covered while operating a vehicle.

Excellent post, OP! I'm especially with you on following all rules of the road. I am looking at what reflective vest to purchase right now.

Haha thanks. I'm actually debating the merits of following all rules of the road as a cyclist on a different thread, but that's another story.

I bought this vest for $18 - pricey compared to the safety vests designed for construction workers, but I liked the fact that it was not actually a true vest, so I could wear whatever I wanted for the weather and just throw this on top. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GQTROYY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I don't think it's worth the current price of $28 + $5 shipping, but it depends how much you value flexibility in what you wear.

I also ordered some green LED wheel spoke lights. I had never heard of those before, but I think they'll prove nifty.

Side note - is it weird that I can tell when there's a hybrid or pure electric car vs a standard gasoline car behind me? A couple of my friends were surprised I could identify them by sound when we were on the sidewalk. I didn't think it was difficult - it's more of an electric whirring than a roar.


Beric01

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2014, 12:50:29 PM »
Haha thanks. I'm actually debating the merits of following all rules of the road as a cyclist on a different thread, but that's another story.

You'll have to direct me to the thread! Following the rules of the road as a cyclist is a huge deal to me. That includes stopping fully at ALL stop signs (I must be the 1 out of 1 million who does this!

I bought this vest for $18 - pricey compared to the safety vests designed for construction workers, but I liked the fact that it was not actually a true vest, so I could wear whatever I wanted for the weather and just throw this on top. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GQTROYY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I don't think it's worth the current price of $28 + $5 shipping, but it depends how much you value flexibility in what you wear.

Interesting! A bit pricey but I really like the flexibility. Heat is a big deal to me, so I want the ability to wear my reflectivity no matter the season. I have a florescent green windbreaker, but I get hot in it WAY too fast.

I also ordered some green LED wheel spoke lights. I had never heard of those before, but I think they'll prove nifty.

Interesting - will have to check these out!

Side note - is it weird that I can tell when there's a hybrid or pure electric car vs a standard gasoline car behind me? A couple of my friends were surprised I could identify them by sound when we were on the sidewalk. I didn't think it was difficult - it's more of an electric whirring than a roar.

Heh, it's called being on the road without your ears hindered. The more miles you put on your bicycle, the more tuned your ears get. You just don't notice this stuff if you're driving an enclosed car.

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2014, 12:58:10 PM »
Haha thanks. I'm actually debating the merits of following all rules of the road as a cyclist on a different thread, but that's another story.

You'll have to direct me to the thread! Following the rules of the road as a cyclist is a huge deal to me. That includes stopping fully at ALL stop signs (I must be the 1 out of 1 million who does this!
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/don't-ride-a-bike-it-will-kill-you!/
I wouldn't say stopping at stop signs is 1 out of 1 million rare, but it's certainly one of the most commonly violated rules by cyclists (probably second only to riding on the sidewalk)

EastCoastMike

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2014, 01:13:28 PM »
I'll admit to pulling rolling stops at 4 way intersections when no traffic is around.  I'm sure it's stupid, but I hate to give up all my inertia every 100'.  If there's a car around, I stop. 

I do appreciate it when drivers try to be nice and wave me through when they have right-of-way on a 4 way, but I wish they wouldn't.  I think we're all safer if everyone is doing the expected thing.

Beric01

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2014, 06:39:51 PM »
I do appreciate it when drivers try to be nice and wave me through when they have right-of-way on a 4 way, but I wish they wouldn't.  I think we're all safer if everyone is doing the expected thing.

They're doing the expected thing! The expected thing is for cyclists to to roll right through the stop - everyone knows cyclists couldn't care less about stop signs (or any other traffic law, for that matter). For every stop sign you roll through, you further this stereotype. It saddens me how I have to wave cars through at stop signs, because it makes me realize how rare my law-abiding behavior is as a cyclist.

Eric

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2014, 07:25:55 PM »
I do appreciate it when drivers try to be nice and wave me through when they have right-of-way on a 4 way, but I wish they wouldn't.  I think we're all safer if everyone is doing the expected thing.

They're doing the expected thing! The expected thing is for cyclists to to roll right through the stop - everyone knows cyclists couldn't care less about stop signs (or any other traffic law, for that matter). For every stop sign you roll through, you further this stereotype. It saddens me how I have to wave cars through at stop signs, because it makes me realize how rare my law-abiding behavior is as a cyclist.

Wait, does this mean that if I start rolling more stop signs that eventually I'll get to go first at all of them, no matter the right of way?  That actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal!

Beric01

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2014, 01:04:24 AM »
I do appreciate it when drivers try to be nice and wave me through when they have right-of-way on a 4 way, but I wish they wouldn't.  I think we're all safer if everyone is doing the expected thing.

They're doing the expected thing! The expected thing is for cyclists to to roll right through the stop - everyone knows cyclists couldn't care less about stop signs (or any other traffic law, for that matter). For every stop sign you roll through, you further this stereotype. It saddens me how I have to wave cars through at stop signs, because it makes me realize how rare my law-abiding behavior is as a cyclist.

Wait, does this mean that if I start rolling more stop signs that eventually I'll get to go first at all of them, no matter the right of way?  That actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal!

Actually, this is already the case - at least in my area. It's pretty bad.

killingxspree

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Re: Cycling Safety Practices
« Reply #47 on: November 06, 2014, 06:22:51 PM »
Mine are:
I ride on the footpath when I feel unsafe on the road...BUT only when there are no residential driveway and only where there is good line of sight and no pedestrians near me. Although this is rare and if I do go on the footpath usually I walk it.
If I'm on a shared bike path with pedestrians and slow cyclists I always ring my bell when overtaking them because its only polite plus that's what the signage says although I've only witnessed a handful of other cyclist apart from myself ever do this and it infuriates me to no end. Ive seen near misses because cyclists don't follow the signage I mean you have a bell on their so why not use it.