Even if you are a professional cyclist, riding your bike in the city can sometimes prove to be difficult or a tad scary. Whether you’re taking your bike to work, school, or having a leisurely ride to enjoy the city sights, there are several tips that can make your city ride more enjoyable and safer. If you’ve ever feared that a car isn’t paying attention to you while you’re biking on the road, this read is for you.
Always assume that drivers do not see you! As I mentioned earlier, this notion can be pretty scary when you see your lightweight bike up against a seemingly giant steel vehicle with four wheels. To ensure that you stand out to drivers, make sure to put some lights on your bike and wear your reflective gear even during the day. Although you might want to listen to music or a podcast on your commute, wearing headphones does distract you from your surroundings and thus is not considered best practice when riding in a densely populated area. Additionally, even though bike lanes are often clearly defined, they should not be treated differently than any other driving lane. Cars can swerve into bike lanes to avoid potholes, road debris, or accidents unexpectedly. Stay aware and always assume, sadly, that no one else is paying attention.
Map Out Your Route
If this is a routine route that you’re riding, you’ve likely memorized where every dip and bump is on your commute. It’s important to be slightly familiar with the area that you’re riding while biking in a city. Take the extra time to map out where you’re going and stay in tune with traffic news to save yourself from any unexpected construction or roadblocks as well as road congestion.
If you’re riding your bike into the city, you’re likely headed somewhere in the city. This means that you’ll have to lock up your bike before entering your destination. A good tip for routine riders is to acquaint yourself with local bike shops. They will know the area well and can recommend the best places to lock up and store your bike to avoid it getting stolen or damaged in the city.
In a similar vein, safety laws are made for a reason. Take the time to learn the biking laws in your state or city to make sure you know your rights if (or when, rather) you get hit by a car door opening near you while riding. Wearing your helmet and sticking to the rules will ensure you and your bike have a safe and happy riding experience.
Although it goes without saying, cyclists who wish to ride in the city simply need to use common sense. Staying calm when dealing with erratic drivers and jay-walking pedestrians will keep respect at the centerpiece of an argument should a situation occur. Additionally, running red lights, riding through stopped traffic, and not paying attention to your surroundings will give bike riders everywhere a bad reputation. Make sure you are being a courteous and considerate cyclist will very likely lead to a better ride.