Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving

DANGERS > VEHICLES > BICYCLES

Bicycles

 Free YouTube Subscription

Cyclists, like pedestrians, are vulnerable on the roads, however even more so because of the higher speeds involved:

☠️ Alert:

🛈 Info:

? Questions:

Dangers Vehicles Bicycles

Abreast

Riding abreast exposes cyclists to risk and at the same time frustrates motorists.

Balance

Be on the watch for any cyclists losing their balance and falling into the path of the vehicle.

Car Door

Before opening a car door, always check the mirror for any approaching vehicles, especially cyclists that are not as visible.

Corner

At a corner, a motorist, in addition to other vehicles, needs to keep an eye out for any cyclists, which due to the proximity of their path gives less time to respond.

Crossing

Due to higher speed and less response time, cyclists are more of a peril at a crossing than pedestrians.

Crossing Road

Cyclists are not as noticeable as other vehicles on the road, therefore be aware of their presence and all the more so if it is an area where there is a likelihood of a greater incidence of cyclists.

Cut-Through

Cutting between a line of vehicles exposes the cyclist as well as others to injury and damages.

Exit

This is where a cyclist riding along the sidewalk intersects with a vehicle exiting a private driveway.

Falling

Give cyclists a wide berth when passing so that should they fall for whatever reason, you will be well clear of any collisions.

Front

Be alert to a head-on collision with a cyclist in a residential neighborhood, especially younger ones.

Intersection

Cyclists run the greatest risk at an intersection due to being the least visible and protected of all the road vehicles.

Lane

Be alert to any cyclists intruding into your lane and allow for enough space when passing.

Lane Splitting

Traveling between lanes of traffic has its inherent risks. Always check before changing lanes for all sorts of vehicles.

Pedestrian

Cyclists and pedestrians collide. Crossings are a common location for this type of scenario.

Although not involving motorists directly, can still be a situation that can be hazardous to drivers.

Rear

Because of slower speeds, cyclists pose a greater risk to being rear-ended.

Conversely, because of a higher center of gravity and a smaller tire surface area, a bicycles braking distance is not as good and consequently runs the risk of rear-ending other road users.

Side

A cyclist stands a greater chance of being side-swiped because of not having a stable longitudinal path at slower speeds.

Surface

Due to the narrowness of the wheels, bicycles are more prone to getting stuck in gaps or being displaced by differences in height of the road surface.

Toppling

Sudden resistance to the front wheel of a bicycle, be it either an obstacle or heavy braking, will result in toppling of the cyclist over the handlebars.

☠️ Hazards of bicycles on the road

Bicycles sharing the road with other vehicles can pose certain dangers, both for cyclists and motorists. Here are some potential risks and concerns associated with bicycles on the road:

  • Lack of Visibility: Bicycles are smaller and less visible than cars or motorcycles, making it more challenging for drivers to spot them, especially in blind spots or low-light conditions. This can increase the risk of collisions if motorists fail to notice or anticipate the presence of cyclists.

  • Right-of-Way Conflicts: Cyclists may face challenges when navigating intersections or roundabouts, where right-of-way rules can be complex. Drivers and cyclists must be aware of their respective rights and responsibilities to avoid collisions and conflicts.

  • Speed Differential: Bicycles typically travel at slower speeds compared to motor vehicles. This speed differential can result in challenges when vehicles attempt to pass cyclists, potentially leading to unsafe maneuvers or inadequate clearance.

  • Door Zone Accidents: "Dooring" occurs when a motorist or passenger opens a vehicle door without checking for approaching cyclists. This sudden obstruction can lead to severe collisions if a cyclist is unable to avoid the open door or swerve into traffic to avoid it.

  • Aggressive Driving and Harassment: Some motorists may exhibit impatience or aggression toward cyclists, leading to unsafe passing, tailgating, or other aggressive behaviors. Such actions can create hazardous situations and increase the risk of accidents or injuries.

  • Road Conditions: Poorly maintained road surfaces, potholes, debris, or inadequate cycling infrastructure can pose risks to cyclists. Uneven surfaces or unexpected obstacles can cause loss of control or accidents, leading to injuries.

  • Fatalities: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, bicycles account for a significant portion of road traffic deaths. In 2018, it was estimated that over 58,000 cyclists died in road traffic crashes worldwide.

  • Injury Rates: The severity of injuries can vary, but cyclists are vulnerable to a range of injuries in accidents. These can include fractures, head injuries, soft tissue injuries, and other trauma. Unfortunately, reliable global statistics on non-fatal bicycle accident injuries are limited.

To address these dangers, it is crucial for both cyclists and motorists to follow road rules, practice mutual respect, and maintain awareness of their surroundings.

Sharing the road safely requires communication, patience, and vigilance from all road users. Motorists should give cyclists sufficient space when passing, and cyclists should obey traffic laws, use proper signaling, and wear reflective clothing to enhance their visibility.

Additionally, efforts to improve cycling infrastructure, such as designated bike lanes and bike-friendly road designs, can help enhance safety for all road users.

🛈 Bicycle traffic laws

Bicycle traffic laws can vary depending on the country or region, but here are some common traffic laws that apply to bicycles in many places:

  • Riding in the same direction: Cyclists are typically required to ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic. This means riding on the right-hand side of the road in countries where driving is on the right, and on the left-hand side in countries where driving is on the left.

  • Obeying traffic signals and signs: Cyclists are generally required to obey traffic signals, including traffic lights, stop signs, and yield signs. They should also follow any applicable road signs, such as speed limit signs or lane markings.

  • Using hand signals: Hand signals are used to indicate the intention to turn or stop. Cyclists should use appropriate hand signals to communicate their actions to other road users.

  • Yielding to pedestrians: Cyclists should yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or when crossing paths with pedestrians on sidewalks or shared paths. It's important to give pedestrians the right of way and avoid riding in a way that endangers them.

  • Riding in bike lanes or designated areas: Many places have designated bike lanes or paths for cyclists. Cyclists should use these lanes or paths when available and follow any specific rules or markings associated with them.

  • Lights and reflectors: When riding at night or in low visibility conditions, bicycles are often required to have lights and reflectors. This helps improve visibility and ensures the cyclist can be seen by other road users.

It's important for cyclists to familiarize themselves with the specific traffic laws and regulations in their own area, as they can vary. Local government websites, transportation authorities, or cycling advocacy groups can provide detailed information on the specific laws that apply to cyclists in a particular region.

? Can bicycles ride against traffic?

No, bicycles should not ride against traffic. In most places, bicycles are considered vehicles and are required to follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicles. This generally means that bicycles should ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic, on the right-hand side of the road.

Riding against traffic is dangerous and increases the risk of accidents. It creates confusion for other road users, such as motorists and pedestrians, who are not expecting to encounter a cyclist coming from the opposite direction. Additionally, riding against traffic makes it more difficult for cyclists to anticipate and react to potential hazards, such as turning vehicles or intersections.

It's important for cyclists to prioritize their safety and the safety of others by obeying traffic laws and riding in the same direction as the flow of traffic.

? Do bike lanes reduce traffic?

Yes, bike lanes can help reduce traffic congestion. When people have safe and dedicated lanes for cycling, it can encourage more individuals to choose bicycles as a mode of transportation. This shift from motor vehicles to bicycles can lead to a decrease in the number of cars on the road, thus reducing overall traffic congestion.

Here are a few ways in which bike lanes can contribute to traffic reduction:

  • Mode shift: When people have access to well-designed and connected bike lanes, they may choose to bike instead of driving for shorter trips. This mode shift reduces the number of vehicles on the road and alleviates traffic congestion.

  • Shorter travel distances: Bicycles are often well-suited for shorter trips within urban areas. By providing dedicated bike lanes, cities can encourage individuals to opt for bicycles for commuting or running errands, especially when the infrastructure is designed to offer convenient and safe routes.

  • Improved traffic flow: When bicycles have their own designated lanes, they can operate separately from motor vehicles. This separation reduces conflicts and improves the flow of both bicycle and motor vehicle traffic. By avoiding situations where cyclists have to share lanes with cars, bike lanes can help prevent slowdowns and congestion caused by mixed traffic scenarios.

  • Increased road capacity: Bike lanes effectively expand the capacity of existing road infrastructure. By providing a separate space for cyclists, bike lanes make efficient use of the available road space, allowing for the smooth movement of both cyclists and motorists.

  • Reduced parking demand: When more people choose bicycles for their daily commutes, the demand for parking spaces decreases. This can help reduce the need for additional parking infrastructure and free up space that would otherwise be occupied by parked cars.

While bike lanes alone may not completely eliminate traffic congestion, they can certainly contribute to reducing it by promoting cycling as an alternative mode of transportation. However, the overall impact of bike lanes on traffic reduction will depend on various factors such as the density of the area, the quality of the infrastructure, and the local culture and attitudes towards cycling.

🡄 Previous Page                                                                      Next Page 🡆

Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving