As veteran bike advocate John Forrester said, “Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.” Accident statistics reflect this, as more bike accidents happen when cyclists act as “pedestrians on wheels” — riding against traffic, on sidewalks, etc.
An article in North Carolina’s Independent Weekly explains the concept of bicycle driving better than most, and illustrates the value of bicycle driver training. With the aid of League Cycling Instructor Bruce Rosar, writer Bob Geary returns to cycling in downtown Raleigh after a 44 year hiatus. Some of the things Bob learns are:
- Obey stop signs, yield signs and red lights.
- Ride with the traffic.
- Take the lane for yourself—the travel lane—when you’re comfortable doing so, especially when you’re keeping up with traffic.
- If the lane is wide enough, and you’re comfortable “sharing” it, move to the right side of it and let cars come alongside in the same lane.
- The general rule is, slower traffic stays on the right. However, if there isn’t room to the right—a narrow lane with no shoulder, for example, or not much of one—and it would be unsafe to go there, don’t. Stay in your lane.
- Also in general, the safest position when taking the lane is the “primary” position, which is in the middle of it, where you’re the most visible to cars coming from behind.
Why do we not need bike lanes in our cities? Read the article to find out.
The Independent Weekly has lots of other good articles about biking, so check them out too.