As the numbers of cyclists are increasing year after year, it is inevitable that accidents can occur anytime. With respect to road traffic injuries, cycling fatalities are ranked fourth in statistical records after motorcycle, car, and pedestrian. To combat cycling related accidents, one has to be aware and alert with the traffic surroundings.
According to statics from MATEC, the time of the incident at 6 – 10 pm is ranked the highest, so be sure to avoid traffic at those times. The worst thing besides getting into an accident is to see another fellow rider getting seriously injured. Car and bike, or cyclist crashing on their own isn’t a good sight for us all. Therefore, here are some tips on how to manage traffic and ride better with safety first in mind.
Wear bright clothing
Riding early in the morning is an awesome thing to do. Fewer cars, less pollution, and nice fresh air. However, it could be dangerous when drivers normally drive at the most blurred and sleepy part of the day. What’s worse, it could even be a drunk driver! So be sure to be as noticeable as possible.
Front and rear blinkers
Well, if you don’t own a set of bright clothing for cycling, we strongly recommend getting a set of bright lights for your bike. Never underestimate how much we actually need it, even when it’s doing the job for you when you are not aware of how unaware drivers can be around you.
Anticipate the behavior and movements of other road users and dangers that might appear. Make eye contact and observe the traffic on the road ahead, behind and around you. Practice this so that it becomes an automatic behavior. Do your best to be sure of your own moves in traffic and make it known by gestures.
Left is right
Ride on the left, in the same direction as other traffic. Some people still believe that cyclists are like pedestrians and should ride facing traffic. This is not only illegal, but has also been shown to dramatically increase the risk of a collision. If you feel unsafe, use a rearview mirror on your handlebar.
There are many obstacles on the road, but the most common ones we have are potholes.
Like bumps, if they are big enough, they can easily throw us off, especially during the rain when they look like harmless shallow holes. Do your best to avoid them, but keep in mind to always look around before swerving around it to avoid passing cars.
Many motorist-cyclist collisions occur at intersections. The majority of these happen when the cyclist is moving straight ahead. To reduce the dangers, you must observe the following rules on intersections and turn lanes. When approaching an intersection with several lanes, choose the lane with the arrow pointing in the direction that you want to go. Watch for vehicles as they might make sudden turns.
Always put yourself in a defensive position, as you may get cut off by turning cars if you are not in the appropriate lane. If you cannot make it across traffic to position yourself in the correct lane, instead you have the choice to dismount and walk in the crosswalk which would be a safer option.
I personally had a few encounters of drivers speeding off at the red lights when I was about to cross. When at traffic lights, it is always the best to follow the traffic rules. Never take for granted that all motorists will obey the traffic rules. We strongly recommend to be extra cautious and be ready, in case of anyone dashes through the red lights. So, approach with extreme caution.
We’ve seen cyclists getting smacked by an opening car door, from 20km/h to an immediate stop which can be very painful and could be bone breaking. When riding through road with parallel parking lots, be careful not to ride near the cars as some people might not be aware of passing vehicles or cyclists.
Wet n Wild
Poor visibility can affect our judgment while riding in the rain, also allow more rooms for maneuvering the bike when it rains. However, what’s more concerning is the passing traffic. Again, wear bright clothing because sometimes it is hard for the motorists to notice you, especially during the rain.
Most of us drive cars and also own a phone. These 2 do not mix well! We all have been guilty because of typing while driving. But please do your best to put that phone away while driving. Be fair to other road users and pedestrians, as we’ve seen so many accidents and near misses due to phone usage while driving. Imagine yourself riding and someone hits you because they can’t wait to reply a text message. How would you feel?