We are concerned for ALL cyclists well being! While safe riding needs to be practiced throughout the entire ride, intersections can be the most challenging and dangerous part of your ride.
Follow these seven tips for safe traffic jamming:
1. Always leave yourself an out. Scan the situation and make sure you’ve got a safe exit route in the event something crazy happens. If you can swerve into a driveway or you’ve left plenty of room to brake, you’ll drastically reduce the chances of an accident.
2. Be non confrontational. Drivers are under a lot of stress and they can lose it at times. You might be tempted to reciprocate. But don’t because it serves no purpose and may exacerbate the situation. Instead, take a deep breath and let it go. Don’t let someone else’s stress rub off on you.
3. Remember to signal early. If you intend to turn at an intersection, especially if you’re moving into the left-turn lane, signal early. And, don’t move left until it’s safe to do so. If you get trapped on the right curb due to heavy traffic, wait until it’s safe to get in the left-turn lane. Sometimes, it possible to turn right (if that road is less busy), execute a legal U-turn and use the light to proceed through the intersection the way you want to go.
4. Be careful not to stop on an oil slick. Motor vehicles leak oil, and the deposits are usually in the middle of the lane at an intersection. Riding through this stuff is bad for your tires and can lead to loss of traction and a crash when you start pedaling again.
5. Don’t get doored! If you’re approaching an intersection and parked cars are on your right, remain alert for drivers exiting their cars. Should they swing open their door, you’ll have to react quickly to avoid a serious crash.
6. Eye contact is key. For safety in traffic, always try to establish eye contact before moving in front of cars. When you’re behind a slow-moving vehicle, try to meet the driver’s eyes by looking in his mirrors and don’t pass until he lets you know it’s safe to.
7. Always expect the worst and ride accordingly. If you can adopt this attitude at all times, you’ll be safest in traffic and elsewhere.