The Case for Riding Defensively
Let’s face it, all the signage and training in the world will never prevent accidents from happening. How many times have you dropped, forgotten, knocked over or done something stupid in your daily life and thought “what just happened? I don’t usually do that.” Mistakes happen.
There are jerks out there from all types of road users, to be sure, but we can’t place all the blame on them for accidents and near misses.
No one can hold your hand through the process of navigating the road on your bike. You can’t pad yourself in a protective coating, you just can’t. So what can you do?
- Take responsibility for your own safety. Don’t rely on signage or other people to keep you safe.
- Stay alert to your surroundings. Know what other road users are doing.
- Think ahead and anticipate the maneuvers of other road users.
- Drop the attitude. It’s excellent that you’re riding your bike, but you’re no better than anyone else when your attitude gets you crushed. Don’t try to prove anything out there – you can’t win against the magnitude of a car.
- Give yourself ample room to stop, move, get out of the way, stay safe.
- Choose your route wisely. Know where you’re headed and what the terrain is like. If you’re confused, pull over and figure it out.
- Be visible. Have lights. It’s ridiculous to surprise car drivers and pedestrians then be upset they didn’t see you. No ninjas!
- Ride predictably. Signal your turns (confident and clear: a straight arm right or left, depending on which way you’re turning) and avoid unexpected moves like jutting out into traffic.
Have fun and be safe out there. We want to see you smiling, riding your bike and practicing #CordialSpring, a movement that encourages cyclists to set the tone by being extra respectful and friendly on the road. Take the higher ground, and protect yourself when riding your bike.
This article is in no way a response to the recent extremely sad and unfortunate situations where people were killed or injured while riding their bikes.