Cycling - Rules To Follow for Safety and Personal Freedom
One of the best ways to get outside for fresh air, and get some sunlight without having to worry about crowds, and distancing? Get on a BIKE!
Voxie offers you safe biking techniques to get you around and heart pumping.
Biking being inherently individual and distant from other humans makes it a great way to get outside, and still be safe, in these warming temperatures and budding spring. Whether you are cycling veteran or a first timer looking to be outside more and help to environment, we have compiled for a list of important rules for keeping you safe on the roads, in a Car Focused World.
Assume the car drivers are not able to see you.
Safety is the first and most important! Trust us when we say it is better to Concede, Watch and Wait then be correct and dead. You will NOT win a fight with a car, regardless of how clueless, and incorrect, the driver is.
RULE#1 Be as visible as possible. We mean it! Like, as stupid ugly visible as possible. The stranger you look, the more the drivers will see you and know to stay over and allow you space, especially at night.
RULE #2 Follow the traffic flow and all traffic signs. In North America, keep to the right, and follow all the same traffic rules as though you were a car. Keeping to the right lane, using your hand signals and LOTS of shoulder checks when having to go into the active traffic.
Pass on the left, safely and use your hand signals to indicate where you would like go.
Try not to DART out.
This quick action creates immediate defensiveness and sometimes fear/anger in the vehicles surrounding you. For all cars and bikes alike, the slower you move, and allow response, the smoother your travel.
Darting and quick movements create anxiety in both biker and driver, and usually end in intense response or emotion like yelling out the window, or worse. Just don't do it.
If a lane is big enough for your bike and a car to be on together, you should stay on the right side of passing cars. However, if a lane is not wide enough for a car to pass you with a minimum of three feet between you, you are allowed to take the lane.
Intersections and any point of turning for vehicles can be a conflict spot for the dance between car and bike. It is these spots that we recommend the 'slowdown-eyecontact' method, which goes like this.
No Eye Contact = Slow up, and wait.
This is important. As they look over their right shoulder, and make eye contact with you so that you KNOW they see you, once you have the 'nod' or smile, continue through and the car will turn after you.
HOWEVER, many times, cars are blissfully unaware that you are there, and even less, checking to check if you might be coming along on their right. Know this. Realize this and be safe with this information.
Don't let this ruffle your cycling feathers, take this truth as a reality check of understanding of vehicles, and their attributes, in your biking environment, and adapt.
The best part of this situation is that points of conflict on the road, are far and few between, the majority of the time, you are on a straight away, and there are no issues except being very visible (see Rule 1-be visable).
Still not sure you want to take it to the streets? We completely understand. Especially for people who are beginner bikers.
Bike lanes might be a better option for you. Cycling and outdoor exercise, is suppose to alleviate your stress, not elevate it. Many cities, parks and green spaces have trails set up for biking safely.
Car free options and spaces for you to enjoy our two wheeled world, is a better way to begin and start getting your cycling legs and awareness fine tuned before you take to the streets. You determine, your comfort and what works best for you.
Rule #3 Pay attention and follow traffic signals This is by far the easiest one to do. When you go out for a ride, and now that we are assuming that people in cars do not see us, you need to be vigilant and aware of where you are, who is close to you, and listen out for impending issues and/or danger.
You must completely stop your bicycle at stop signs and patiently wait for a green light. Indicate your direction and intention by using your hand signals, use a bell to let people know you are coming up on them.
The Best Practices to Observe for Bike Safety
Expect the best, but prepare for the worst
Wear Proper Bike Gear - weather - wet weather pants and jacket, maybe a hat. They pack up very tight and be kept in your panier or backpack. You will be very happy that you did.
Let us reflect - you will want to be living Rule #1 with this and reflect upon how reflective you want to be. More is always better in this case.
Light up your night - beyond tricking out your steed, it is always a good idea to have a bright front and back light. You can always add on to this, but these two are essential.
Brain buckets are good - Helmets are the best way to keep your head together and in the game. Make sure you adjust the straps so that it site properly on your head (use the pads to make sure). Nothing is worse than a floppy helmet.
Consistent and slow rather than aggressive and dart-y - the goal is calm clear transportation, for everyone on the road. Take this gift of movement and enjoy and celebrate, rather than trying to win the Tour de France.
Look, listen and respond. Be very aware and with that comes, being sober, and not wearing your headphones when on the street. You can be a little more lax on bike paths and trails, but remember, cyclists will never win the car/bike fight. Best to not engage with those metal boxes at all.
Biking is one of the best ways to enjoy and spread our your circle of neighbourhood, see new restaurants, find new trails and exploration of your city. Take these simple rules to heart and get out there, for YOUR HEART.
Monica Polo | Monica Polo is Co-Founder and COO of Voxie. As a practicing interior designer (BID) and a Materials Health and Wellness educator, Monica brings current and relevant practices on how to holistically design a healthier world. This allows her readers, students and clients, to own their own wellness and move toward positive change, at their pace. As a social activist, she weaves the Burning Man, 10 principles into her personal wellness philosophy through her work at the Design Center, at RSID. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her two sons.