Continuing Tuesday’s post, I got feedback about things we do as cyclists that are not cool. I decided to follow up with this post. Part 1 was about how a driver can help me get home safe, part 2 will be what I will be doing to keep myself safe.
Red means stop!
Number one thing I heard: “stop running red lights!” Ok, I understand red means stop. And yes under law we do need to stop at a red. In the past I would scoff it off, with “yeah, but cars run way more reds” or “I’m safer in the median where I don’t get hit with right turns” and “I’m just slowing down traffic less”. So, I will stop at all reds and continue once the light turns green. With the following caveat, I WILL take the entire right lane. You have to make a right turn? Wait for me to start and pass. I’m tired of getting side view mirror clipped.
Stop signs, I will continue to do a rolling stop. Not a full stop, if it’s not needed. On a bike I’m higher up than most cars, and my view is unobstructed. These two things allow me to see what’s coming. On a bike my top speed is much less, I need much less distance than a car to slow down. If I do a full stop, I will be slowing down traffic until I can resume pedaling and speed. A bike also has no stop lights, so a full stop at a stop sign I actually run a higher risk of getting hit. I’ll slow down and pass as a default, and stop when required (another vehicle passing).
Helmets and lights to keep me safe
I will continue wearing a helmet as it’s saved my noggin several times. However, MY helmet is for MY protection. It does not mean you can pass me faster or closer; that I’m somehow safer in the event of a crash with a car. A helmet does nothing to protect me against a car, it’s to protect me against my falls. It helps with low tree branches, the occasional rock that gets picked up by tires, and minor dings.
Lights on after dusk. That’s never a bad idea; the darker it is, the better it is to look like a moving christmas tree. Blinking lights are always attached on my bike and helmet, and I do cary a 200 lumen one for night rides on the street. For trail riding I use 2, 200 lumen lights and 1, 100 lumen helmet light.
You will also now find me in the middle of the right lane period.
If I’m to be safe, I need to move away from the edge and into the middle of the road. Why? Lets work our way outside in, first pedestrians. There’s more space and I don’t rush past them, better for all. Pavement at the edge is always filled with debris and trash that can cause tire puncture or a fall. Grates and storm drains inhabit this area, and I don’t want to get caught in one. No Pennywise or red balloons for me. Next up, cars, if I’m to close to the edge I’ll get doored or swerve into traffic to avoid a door. Neither is a good scenario. I need at least a door width of space.
Moving on from the right side to the left side, I need the full lane so you can see me better. I’m more visible directly in front than a little to the side. It’s also easier for me to move one lane at a time in case of a left hand turn. I’m pretty sure all car drivers prefer me moving one lane at a time instead of swiping across multiple lanes at the last minute. By riding in the middle of the lane, and using it fully I can also guarantee the 3ft/1.5m buffer separation needed for safe riding.
Sidewalks and “Salmoning”
Yup, those, I agree with and dislike as well. Bikes on the road, sidewalks for pedestrians; likewise with foot paths and foot bridges. Dismount, walk across, ride on. The only exception I can see is little kids, it is safer for them to be on a sidewalk. Salmoning, is something that gets me. No vehicles should be going the wrong way; whether it’s cars, bikes or motorcycles. I know a lot do it to see what’s coming towards them because it’s scary not seeing the cars behind as they pass close by. It’s also wrong, because someone doing a right turn will never see you, causing a crash.
Thank you for the feedback, we all have something to improve on when being traffic. I’ll follow the rules set out for the bike and you follow the rules set for cars. Look out for each other, don’t hit me and we’re good. Doing both part 1 and part 2, I know I’ll get home safe.
PS: Pay taxes, license plate and permits.
I’ll start off saying that I already pay them with my car and home. Second, it’s not required for bikes, so moot point. Third and final, the total weight on the road both my bike and myself is less than 90 kg; no impact.