How to bike ride safely in traffic

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It is possible to share the road with cars and buses, but you absolutely have to follow some basic bike safety rules. Steve Madden, editor of Bicycling magazine, tells you exactly what you need to know to ride a bike safely on city streets.

How to bike ride safely in traffic
  1. Wear a helmet.
  2. If there’s a bike lane use it.
  3. Make sure drivers can see you. Bright colored clothes, lights or reflective clothing strips.
  4. Respect the laws.
  5. Watch out for car doors, look ahead. If you ride on the right side of the road you’ll see more.
  6. Anticipate what drivers and other riders will be doing. This takes time. Look down the road.
  7. Ride with confidence and in a straight line.
  8. Concede if you have to. Your vehicle weights 20 pounds, the car weights 2000 pounds. The car always wins.
Transcript Hi, I’m Steve Madden with howdini.com and I want to talk to you a little bit today about how to ride safely in traffic. You know a lot of people say to me that they’re that they don’t want to ride their bikes because they’re afraid of riding with cars. I understand that because there are a lot of cars out there, and they are much bigger then you are on your bike. But with a little bit of practice you can become comfortable riding in traffic. I am.

There are eight points I wan to go over and tell you today. First of all, wear a helmet. It’s a no brainier always wear your helmet no matter where you are riding. Second of all if there is a bike lane available be sure to ride in the bike lane. It’s marked right in the pavement, it will have an icon of a guy riding a bicycle, and that’s your lane cars are not supposed to be in it. You’ll feel a lot safer with a buffer of space around you. Thirdly, make sure that drivers can see you. Wear bright colored clothing if you’re riding toward dawn or dusk. Have lights on both the front and the rear of the bike, or have reflective clothing on. On your shoes, strips on a backpack that you might be wearing, or on your ankle cuffs. Make sure that people can see you.

Fourth of all, respect the laws. You on the road, your in a vehicle, you have to submit to the same laws that cars are. Don’t run lights, don’t roll through stop signs, stop and put your foot down. If you ride as you respect the laws drivers will respect you. Watch out for car doors look ahead. If you are riding on the right side of the road your much more likely to see car doors open in front of you the if you are riding on the left side of the road, where only passenger side doors would open in your path. Anticipate what other drivers and riders will be doing. This comes with experience; it takes some time to be able to anticipate what they are going to be able to do. But you need to be looking forward down the road not at your wheels.

Ride in confidence and ride in a straight line, no zig ziging, care are more likely to be afraid of you as you are of them. And finally concede if you have to. And remember your vehicle weighs twenty pounds; the car weighs two thousand pounds. The car always wins. I’m Steve Madden for howdini.com and that’s how to ride safely.
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  • Steve Madden

    Steve Madden Editor-in-Chief of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Magazines Steve Madden is the Editor-in-Chief of Bicycling and Mountain Bike magazines. He was also a reporter and columnist for Fortune, staff writer for M, and Editor and Publisher of Cornell. more about this expert »

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