How to ensure you cycle safely in traffic, when you are training.
Using road miles as part of your cycling training plan
If you are trying to get fitter and reduce your weight: you will need to cycle in traffic in order to get any reasonable cycling mileage, therefore it is essential to consider how you are going to stay safe, because believe me, you must think for the motorist as well as for you.
So here are my top tips, I cannot guarantee that nothing will happen, but if you use these as your guide, I am confident that you will be safer and enjoy your cycling even more.
Road position: just because a bike is smaller than other vehicles on the road does not mean that you do not have right to your fair share of the road, you must dominate the road, and other road users need to treat you as they would a motorcycle or car. So, do not ride too close to the kerb, where the all the debris collects, where the drains can affect your steadiness, take up a line about one third of the lane width, out from the kerb, make it so that if a driver wants to overtake you, then they have to move out round you.
Sure this is going to annoy some of them, but believe me not as much as you getting clipped as they try to squeeze past you, because they thought there was enough space, do not present them with the option, CLOSE IT OUT.
Traffic: the temptation on a bike is to use your size and nimbleness to slip up the inside of stationery cars, NOT A GOOD IDEA, do not forget they are not expecting anyone to come up their inside, so they will pull closer to the kerb side to get through tight gaps, they may cut across you with no indicating, this is mainly true of larger vehicles, they just will not notice you. Under no circumstances get between large vehicles and roadside railings, like those you see at junctions and crossing, as trucks turn they tend to cut the corner and you do not want to be in that space when they do.
Pavements: are for pedestrians, so guess what, they are not expecting a lycra clad cyclist to come bearing down on them out of the crowd, and when you do they wont react how you expect, like ‘a rabbit caught in the headlights’ they will move right in front of you. On a serious note if you ride into a pedestrian, both they and you could be seriously injured, it can result in emotional torment for both you and them and there can be legal consequences, so just remove the chance, stay off the sidewalk.
Road Conditions: road surfaces can vary greatly, it depends upon where you are, the age of the road, weather conditions, when you are on a bike give this some thought. Cyclist will often think about safety when the road is wet, but what about times of high temperatures, dust builds up on the road, this tends to settle closer to the kerb side and can be as slippery as a wet surface, if not careful, this can end up with you off the bike without any warning, so just be careful and take your cycling line accordingly.
Junctions: As I mentioned earlier, when cycling on the road, you have to think for the driver, well at junctions and crossings you must think for the pedestrians as well, things to watch for: cars turning without signaling, pedestrians stepping off the kerb without checking for traffic, you must watch for the unexpected. Traffic lights can be an additional concern, vehicles setting off too early, or accelerating through as the lights change from green, but if you are a both a cyclist and a car driver, then this is really important, you do not have the speed of a car, so DO NOT ATTEMPT TO JUMP THE LIGHTS.
By the time you have read this you are probably thinking where is the fun in riding a bike on the road, well; I cycle to work roughly 9 miles there and back and I love it, having considered all the above things makes me safe on the bike, it helps me relax and concentrate on my cycling technique, so that I get the most out of my training plan.
Source by John Paul Mellor