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Monday, July 11, 2011

Road Etiquette for Newbie Cyclists

Posted on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 9:53 AM

As a commuter cyclist for the last 30 years and a one time racer, I am quite comfortable on my bike. I've ridden through many a storm and throughout winter every year. I love the fact that many more of you are getting out on your bikes these days and either commuting or just plain old joy riding. But, you need to learn how to handle your bike and the basic rules of the road before you start riding in traffic. Here are a few helpful hints for those not as familiar with riding.

1. NEVER pass another cyclist on the right side while in the "same lane". This is just plain dangerous. I do not look over my right shoulder to see if you are coming. I am far too busy looking over my left and concentrating on the road ahead.

2. STOP at all stop signs and red lights (and here's the important bit) AT THE STOP LINE! Moving up to the curb so that you can rest your tired feet while blocking the crosswalk is not cool.

3. When another cyclist is stopped at a light, DO NOT RIDE AND THEN STOP IN FRONT OF THEM. That's just pain rude. Would you jump the queue if you were standing in line at the bank? I don't think so. So what makes you think it's OK to do it now?

4. DO NOT WEAVE IN AND OUT of traffic. Keep a straight line on the road. Weaving in and out makes it harder for cars to see you and also for faster cyclist to judge where the hell you are going.

5. Do NOT RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK unless you're under 12 years of age. Firstly you look like a doofus and secondly it's dangerous for pedestrians.

6. USE HAND SIGNALS when stopping or turning. I realize most car drivers haven't the faintest idea where their turn signal is located but us cyclist just have to use our arm. This allows fellow cyclist, pedestrians and drivers to know what you are doing out there... it's not all about you.

7. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. Even if you have the right of way make sure you can proceed before ANY vehicle collides with you. In the grand scheme of things, just because you're in the right doesn't mean that the car that hits you won't cause severe damage to you.

So, for all you newbies and fair weather cyclists, please, please, please be more aware of what you are doing... you're not 10 anymore riding the back roads of Berwick. If you don't know what to do ask an experienced cyclist. —Just 'Cause I'm Not in Lycra Doesn't Mean I Can't Kick Your Ass

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