When you cycle among motorists that are a lot heavier and faster than you, it’s essential to be as careful as you can during each ride.
Oftentimes, following the laws designed with bicyclist safety in mind, being predictive about the behaviors of other motorists and being as aware as possible can all help you up your safety on quiet and busy streets alike. Below are three measures bicyclists across the entire state of New York can implement to increase safety.
Ride with flow of traffic
In New York, it’s illegal to bike anywhere but the street or on designated bike paths — meaning sidewalks are off limits. As a new or seasoned bicyclist, you might feel like you’d be safer on the sidewalk, but there are many ways riding alongside other motorists can help you increase your visibility. One example is when you enter intersections. If you are riding next to a car driver that wants to turn at an upcoming intersection that you are planning to cross, then the driver will probably look out for you before making any sudden moves. But if you are riding on the sidewalk, then your presence might not be known to the driver until it’s too late.
Beware of dooring
Steering clear of car driver opening their door as you ride begins with being aware of your surroundings. Because, although it’s unlawful to open or close car doors while there is a steady flow of traffic, you shouldn’t just blindly ride past parked cars. Instead, try to keep tabs on drivers who’ve recently parked or pedestrians who may be walking toward their vehicles. That way you will have a better idea of which cars you pass may have occupants and could potentially dodge a dooring incident.
Cut out distractions
One of the easiest ways to increase your alertness as a bicyclist, is by cutting out distractions. Just like driving, it is dangerous to text or use your phone while biking. Not only will you be mentally sidetracked, but you probably won’t have both hands on your handlebars. When biking isn’t your focus while on a busy street, you might miss hazards on the road and become a crash victim.
Listening to music with headphones can also be risky, because you can miss audio clues that a car is coming uncomfortably close to you. Instead, tuck your phone away for the ride and only put in one earbud if you want to listen to some entertainment or news during your commute.
While other motorists should be looking out for you, thinking like a car driver and following the rules of the road can help keep you safe.