Cycling safety

This isn’t my usual post.
Just found out there has been an astonishing number of injuries and fatalities to cyclists in canada this May.

We are too polite as Canadians. I’m so guilty of it. From now on, when someone is getting on a bike, I’ll let them know that they must learn the rules first. I hope you all do the same.  Since road cyclists and commuters don’t have to take a licensing test, we need to create a culture of it.

Those who don’t ride, please pass the message on too. Here are some of my thoughts plus personal stories to help you understand.  

– be predictable to both cars and other cyclists. Only two places you’re expected to be in relation to another bike (unless you’re a part of a special formation due to wind): abreast or single-file. More on this later. 

– Pass the hand signals down even if it’s a stranger behind you.  Esp those pesky posts at the ends of cycling route designed to slow down the flow. (Why are they putting them around corners!?!?) Strangers shouldn’t ride on your wheel. But it happens.

– No overlapping wheels at all unless passing. This happens almost every time I ride. Recently I was annoyed by a commuter perpetually overlapping her front wheel on my rear wheel, but I didn’t say anything and thought “Maybe at the next light, I’ll go behind her.” When a bird jumped up, I knew I couldn’t swerve to avoid it with the ditch on my right and her wheel on my left so I had to bike right into the bird. (Thankfully I didn’t hit it). It could also be a pot hole or a baseball.

– don’t put your life in someone else’s hand. E.g. no passing without “On your left!” I saw a near collision on Arthur Lang because the guy being passed decided to pass the cyclist in front of him. E.g. Assume every driver is texting unless proven otherwise. 

– keep your wheel in line with the bike in front of you. You might be able to see better if you cycle a bit to the right or left, but it makes the cyclist behind you much more blind and makes hand signals very confusing.  If you’re uncomfortable not being able to see, give a distance between you and the bike in front of you instead. 

– don’t assume other cyclists know the rules and etiquette of the road. Most recently two different cyclists nearly caused me to crash by cutting in between me and the cyclist in front of me for no apparent reason and no signal and no room.

– obey the law. Someone who gets aggravated by an impolite cyclist (e.g. Cycling side by side and sticking out into a car lane) might make a dangerous pass on you or on another cyclist in the future. (also they are likely to vote no to cycling lanes even though that’s also solution to their problem – anyone else notice that?)

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