Getting around by bike, you can see and hear much more, interact with the world and enjoy the journey. However you need to be responsible when riding on the road. A bicycle shares the same road rules as a motor vehicle.
RESPONSIBLE RIDING ON THE ROAD
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND LEARN THE RIGHT MOVES TO RIDE CONFIDENTLY IN TRAFFIC
By using the following tips will help you make the ride more enjoyable:
ASSESS THE ROAD
Riders are legitimate road users. Know your rights and look like you know what you’re doing.
Follow the road rules and be clear about what you’re doing. Using body language, including hand signals and eye contact, helps everyone to get where they’re going without having to make a big deal about it.
You have to be switched on when riding with other vehicles. Staying alert, and keeping your eyes and ears open helps you to ride defensively. Look ahead, not down, as the danger is in front of you. Knowing exactly what everyone is up to and taking action to avoid accidents when others seem to be asleep at the wheel.
TRAPS AND TRICKS FOR NEW CYCLISTS
- Car doors – Ride a metre out from parked cars and ring your bell to let car door openers know you’re there.
- Disappearing bike lanes – Bike lane or not, you’ve still got every right to be there, so claim your space to avoid getting squeezed out by other vehicles. When entering a roundabout, ride in the middle of the traffic lane to increase your visability and to prevcent being squeezed past.
- Pedestrians You are considered a vehicle and care need to excerised around pedestrians. Use your bell to warn of your approach.
THE GOLDEN RULES FOR RIDING IN TRAFFIC
Learning to ride in traffic is very much like learning to drive. Knowing a few simple techniques can make things a whole lot easier – and the more you do it, the more skilled and confident you will become.
Take it at your own pace, if you don’t feel ready to tackle the main roads yet, stick to quieter streets or bike paths. Get off and walk if you find yourself in a situation you’re not comfortable with.
- Ride at least a metre out from the kerb or parked cars. This also makes you more visible and you can avoid the broken glass and debris at the edge of the road. You can avoid getting hit by a car door. Always stay clear of the ‘door zone’ – and never weave in and out of parked cars.
- Ride consistently – Road users who behave inconsistently make other road users nervous. Ride consistently courtesously and within the rules. You’re more likely to be respected by other road users
- Make your intentions clear – Signal your intentions. Use eye contact to negotiate with other road users to check they’ve seen you and they intend to give way when required.
- Claim your space – Bikes are vehicles and have a legal right to be on the road. If you ride consistently and make your intentions clear, you’re more likely to be treated like a vehicle. Make it clear that you plan to use your portion of the road – whether its a metre from the kerb, or an entire lane, eg on a roundabout or particualrly narrow roads.
- Be aware of your surrounds – Know what’s going on ahead of, beside and behind you. Read the traffic – try to anticipate what’s likely to happen – and scan behind regularly. Watch for signs of cars pulling out or looking for a park.