Cyclists are in a difficult position when they choose to ride on the road. On one hand, they’re getting where they need to go quickly and on a roadway that is designed for them. On the other hand, there are drivers who won’t expect to see them and who won’t give them the space they need.
It’s important for cyclists to take steps to avoid collisions with other drivers. Defensive driving techniques can help.
What are some defensive driving techniques that cyclists can use to stay safe?
One of the first defensive driving techniques to consider is being extra cautious around intersections and stop signs. Any cyclist who approaches a green light does have a right to continue forward, but if there is a vehicle in your lane that might turn into you because of not seeing you or a vehicle approaching that could cut you off, it’s better to stop. Even though a stop isn’t necessarily required, taking the few seconds to slow down, look both ways and make sure no one is approaching can help you protect yourself.
Another important technique to use is hand signaling. Signal well in advance, and make sure you make eye contact with a driver when possible. If you aren’t sure if the driver has seen that you want to turn, wait until they pass. Although this may slow you down, it’s also a good way to protect yourself and avoid a crash.
Cyclists also shouldn’t be afraid to take up as much of the lane as they need. While drivers may want to pass, a cyclist who is traveling at a decent speed is allowed to travel in the lane. For example, if the road is marked for 35 mph and you can travel at 30 mph, other drivers can opt to pass (when allowed) or slow down to stay behind you. You have the right to be in the lane.
As a cyclist, it’s almost like you need to demand respect for your presence on the road. It may seem excessive to always be on guard, but doing so could help you get to your destination safely.