Riding a bike on the road with other traffic can be dangerous and invariably if there is a vehicle/cyclist collision, the cyclist comes out of it worse.
Even low speed collisions can be dangerous. You don’t have to be going fast to get hurt.
Always keep in mind that drivers of vehicles sometimes forget to look for motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
A lot of times they only look for other vehicles. As a narrower vehicle, bicycles are less visible to motorists and therefore it is important as a cyclist to be aware all the time. Head up, eyes open!
I always tell cyclists to ride defensively and regard yourself as invisible to drivers. Many times I have made eye-to-eye contact with a driver only to have them pull out right in front of me.
One of the worst times to be on a bike is at dawn or dusk, in the dark or poor weather conditions and one of the first considerations is to be visible. The most common comment in a vehicle/cyclist collision is “I didn’t see him” and the next is “I couldn’t see him.”
As a driver, how many times have you seen a dark shadow out of the corner of your eye and realized there is a cyclist or pedestrian there? It amazes me that some people don’t understand this very basic fact that to be safe you need to be visible!
Reflective vests or at least brightly coloured clothing such as a neon green, orange or yellow jacket with reflective material is one of the very first items to consider.
Reflective velcro straps to put around your ankles or wrists is another great item and self adhesive reflective strips can be put on your bike frame, helmet, pedals, backpack etc.
After dark, cyclists are required by law to have a front mounted white light visible for a minimum of 150 meters and a rear red light visible for a minimum of 100 meters. Flashing red rear lights are also acceptable. For safety, lights should be used even during daytime on dull, gray, rainy days.
Helmet mounted lights are great because you can aim them by simply turning your head.
That’s it for now…Ride safe!
Steve Nagle, is a cyclist, runner, driver. He can be found at Campbell River’s outdoor store, Outdoor Addictions. www.outdooraddictions.ca