See the article in “HBC Informational Links” (Avoid getting Killed by a Car). Here are a few more ides:
- Don’t just make eye contact with drivers on cross-streets that are threatening to pull out in front of you, make eye contact AND wave to them. Start decelerating if you wave and the driver does not wave back–it can mean s/he is looking in your direction, but is not seeing you. Waving, as someone in the comments pointed out, also has the benefit of just being friendly to drivers and thanking them for be patient while waiting for you.
- Wear or equip your bike with a mirror. Constantly (like every 5-10 seconds) glance to your rear to look for over-taking traffic. Many cyclists are hit, injured, or even killed by motor vehicles over-taking them, not seeing them, and running into or over the the rider and bike. Be prepared to “hit the ditch” (and to yell at your fellow riders in your group) if a vehicle fails to move left to a safe passing distance and appears to be bearing down on you.
- If the road does not have a wide paved shoulder or bike lane, ride in the middle of your, the right, driving lane, especially on roads with little traffic. (I’m talking about the center of the lane, not the center of the road!) If you ride on the right edge of the road you can blend in with the vegetation or the road shoulder and not be seen by the drivers. Watch in your mirror and when a vehicle approaches and begins to move left to a safe passing distance (at least 3 feet in Wisconsin and most states), move as far right as you can safely. Repeat this with every passing vehicle.
- Don’t ride on busy (especially city) streets during rush hour (between 6am and 9am, and 3pm and 6pm). Even if the street/road has paved shoulders or a bike lane, it is better to leave the crazy driving to motor vehicles as they can better defend themselves. If you are going to ride busy streets and roads, then at least ride at a speed greater than 20 mph. That way, you can kind of keep up with the traffic flow. In my experience, drivers are more tolerant of having to wait behind bicycles to pass them if the bikes are traveling at 25 mph (at or near the speed limit). If you can’t maintain that kind of speed, then follow the suggestion in the first sentence here.
What are your ideas for staying safe on the bike?
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