This video, created by American Bicycling Education Association, takes you through different scenarios you may encounter on the road and how to safely navigate them. One of the tips that I find particularly useful is the recommendation to take over the entire lane of traffic if you are on riding on a narrow roadway. When riding on a narrow road, cyclists often feel compelled to ride close to the right hand side of the road, often placing themselves in the door zone and without any room to maneuver around potential hazards or debris in the road. This practice is unsafe and could lead to an accident. That's why it's recommended to take over the entire lane on a narrow road (when there is no bike lane). This will make you more visible to other traffic, free from the door zone, and cars won't try to narrowly squeeze by you in the same lane. This may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but you will adjust. Remember, you have a right to use the full lane as well!
1. BE VISIBLE
Riding at Night- California Vehicle Code Section 21201 (d) provides the requirements for cyclists riding at night. A bicycle operated during darkness shall be equipped with all of the following:
- Front lamp emitting a white light
- Rear red reflector
- Reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle
- Reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle.
Riding During the Day- It's just as important to stay visible during the day. Many motorists look past or through cyclists. I recommend wearing a bright reflective jersey and always having a rear blinking red light. When you are passing motorists that are coming from perpendicular streets try to make eye contact or give them a wave, to make sure they see you.
2. BE PREDICTABLE
One easy way to be predictable is to follow the law. That means riding in the same direction of traffic, on the right hand side of the road or in a bike lane, and using hand signals to indicate you are turning. Never dart out into traffic or weave in and out of cars when you are passing through traffic. If you are riding predictably, you are also more likely to be visible to other motorists.
3. WEAR A HELMET
California Law only requires persons under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. However, everyone riding on the road should be wearing a helmet. They may not always look "cool", but they can definitely save your life. In 91% of bicycle accident fatalities, the cyclist was not wearing a helmet. What more do you need to know?
4. SCAN AHEAD
It's always important to be scanning ahead of you to avoid potential hazards in the road. Be on the lookout for debris in the roadway, pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles that may be entering into or exiting the roadway. The more advanced notice you have of a potential hazard helps you avoid having to make a last second erratic decision. Also, if you are riding in a group, remember to use your hand signals to alert cyclists behind you of any upcoming hazards.
5. LEAVE ROOM ON YOUR RIGHT
A very common accident that occurs in urban areas is "dooring". Being "doored" happens when you are riding on the street next to a parked car, the passenger opens the car door, and you have no time or space to avoid hitting the door. To avoid this type of accident, simply ride next to parked car with at least a car door's distance between you and the car. It's also a good idea to scan ahead and pay extra attention to signs that someone may be exiting their car, like cars that have recently parked or if you see brake lights on a parked car.
Today is National Bike to Work Day. National Bike to Work Day is a great opportunity to bring awareness to your community about the growing number of cyclists using our roads every day. If you are lucky enough to live within biking distance to your work, you have no excuse! So get out there and enjoy the fresh air and exercise. As always, have fun and ride safe!
Day 1 of the Amgen Tour of California will begin and end in San Diego on May 15, 2016. The 106 mile route begins in Mission Bay and heads south down to Imperial Beach, then east towards Jamul, and then back to Mission Bay. See below for a map of the entire route.
****Update: Below are a few photos from Stage One towards the top of Laurel Street in San Diego. This is a short but steep climb (18% grade)! San Diego Bicycle Coalition had a nice gathering on the hill to help support the riders.
The California legislature passed a law that mandates vehicles to provide at least 3 feet of distance between any part of their vehicle and a bicycle when passing them on a roadway. Although the statute is not perfect, it's a step in the right direction. Any experienced road cyclist is undoubtedly familiar with the harrowing experience of being "buzzed" by a vehicle that speeds by at an unsafe distance. California Vehicle Code Section 21760 aims to prevent this type of unsafe driving by providing clearer guidelines on how and when to safely pass a cyclist traveling in the same direction. For your reference, below is the exact statutory language.
21760. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the
Three Feet for Safety Act.
(b) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle
that is proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in
compliance with the requirements of this article applicable to
overtaking and passing a vehicle, and shall do so at a safe distance
that does not interfere with the safe operation of the overtaken
bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor
vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and
the surface and width of the highway.
(c) A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a
bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance
of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any
part of the bicycle or its operator.
(d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with
subdivision (c), due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver
shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass
only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of
the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor
vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and
surface and width of the highway.
(e) (1) A violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) is an
infraction punishable by a fine of thirty-five dollars ($35).
(2) If a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle
causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle, and the driver
of the motor vehicle is found to be in violation of subdivision (b),
(c), or (d), a two-hundred-twenty-dollar ($220) fine shall be imposed
on that driver.
(f) This section shall become operative on September 16, 2014.