ON THE ROAD by Jackie McCarthy
Our goal in promoting safety is to prevent and reduce the number of bicycle crashes, so I did some research to identify the most common causes.
#1 Distracted driving:
When riding we don’t have any control over the level of focus drivers may have, but we can make ourselves as visible as possible and attempt to make eye contact with the drivers around us. We can also make sure we are not distracted when riding a bike and set a good example when we are driving a car. This is true when riding alone or in a group. I know I talk a lot when riding in a group but it is important that we are still focused on the environment around us: other cars, other cyclists, road conditions, etc.
#2 Failing to leave an adequate buffer
We often think of this as the car not providing enough space for the cyclist when passing, but often cyclists ride too closely and pass within less than three feet of a car. If you are within three feet of the center yellow line, you are not leaving an adequate buffer. If you are riding in a group more than two cyclists wide, you are not providing an adequate buffer. The buffer of protection that you create around yourself when you are riding is a signal to drivers as to the amount of space they should give you when passing. Demonstrate by your position the amount of buffer you need.
Speeding makes it harder to stop or avoid a collision. Be aware of your speed and the speed of the cars around you.
#4 Weaving through traffic
Riders who are weaving through traffic are more likely to get hit by a car that is not able to anticipate their moves or the car may not be able to see them on the road. This includes passing cars on the right to get to the intersection while waiting for a light to change to green. Car drivers are not anticipating a vehicle passing on the right, you are not providing a safe buffer, and you are just going to make the cars who have already passed you once, pass you again. Take the position in the lane as though you are a car and wait your turn.
#5 Unsafe lane changes
A single unsafe lane change can lead to a dangerous traffic accident. These events typically result from car drivers merging into bicycle lanes without checking first if the lane is clear. This is one to always be aware of when riding in a bicycle lane near an intersection. Look out for cars that are not looking out for you and learn how to maneuver to avoid getting hit.
These are the top 5 causes, if you would like to learn some avoidance maneuvers, look for a cycling class in the Spring and fill out this form so the LCI instructors can notify you when classes get scheduled: https://forms.gle/jmQjHGnjrMx46sk36
Please fill out this form to provide feedback about Safe Cycling Classes you would be interested in attending. https://forms.gle/SMqyzcuY8WGK9Dag8
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