Bike Log #5

After I published my previous bike log, in which I begged motorists to be more careful around cyclists and to do a better job of sharing the road, it was pointed out to me that cyclists have a role to play in road safety as well.

Of course that’s true, and at times while riding my bike I’ve been guilty of treating myself as a cyclist or as a pedestrian depending on which was more convenient. I’ve made an effort to be better about this, and in that spirit I offer the following safety tips to all cyclists:

  • My most important advice? Be vigilant. Be aware of cars beside you, cars ahead of you, cars approaching from behind; upcoming intersections, pedestrians crossing the road, even objects discarded on the road (such as shattered glass, or even parts of cars). Technically, it may be the responsibility of the driver turning left at an intersection to see you coming and wait for you to go through before completing their turn, but in the battle of bike versus car, bike will always lose; and in a collision between rider and driver, the rider will likely be injured while the driver will be unscathed (physically, anyway). Because the consequences are greater for you, you should be the most vigilant person on the road. (I don’t listen to music while riding my bike, in large part for this reason.)
  • Let people know you’re there. Make eye contact with drivers, and use your bell or horn when passing other cyclists.
  • At red lights and stop signs, wait your turn just like any other road vehicle.
  • Wear a helmet. It’ll offer some protection in the event of a fall or (God forbid) a collision, and even from small pebbles that might get kicked up by your tires. Also, to do otherwise is to announce to the world that there’s nothing in your head worth protecting.

Do you have any other safety tips? Feel free to add them through the comments section below.

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Karl El-Koura was born in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and currently lives with his beautiful editor-wife in Canada’s capital city. More than sixty of his short stories and articles have been published in magazines since 1998, and in 2012 he independently published his debut novel Father John VS the Zombies.

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