So. Winter is over. It got warmer on the street, the snow melted, the roads dried up, everyone took out their bicycles and drove out onto the roads. Social media feeds filled with happy photos from the parks.
But there is a fly in the ointment: news also appeared "in the city of N, a car hit a cyclist." Because spring, and not all drivers are conscious enough to prepare for cyclists on the road. Many of which have a very vague idea of the rules of the road and their rights / obligations on the road. How to ride and not get killed on the roads?
Let's get started. I will try to share experience and observations for 5 years of active driving through the streets of cities for the season, and, I note, without a single collision or conflict with motorists. I went both on MTV and on a road bike. Notes, probably, will be more suitable for beginners who are starting to go on roads for the first time. And those who actively ride, but still do not go further than the forest or park. Let's talk about driving on public roads.
The cyclist is a full-fledged road user. Accordingly, he has both rights and obligations. Yes, responsibilities too. The fact that we have two wheels does not make us special! Nimbus does not appear overhead and extra lives are not added on!
If you are driving on roads for the first time, it would be great to have an experienced cyclist friend that will show how to drive competently in traffic. Ride with him a week or two, look carefully at what and how he does it. If this is not the case, watch the road while driving in a car, in a taxi, in public transport. When and how cars move at intersections, how they turn left and right, how OT (public transport) drops passengers, and so on. This will help to quickly navigate in an incomprehensible situation. Intuition, this is just a memory.
The first trips alone to the roads are always a little scary, the same as on a bicycle, what a car. I share a life hack: leave first very, very early. My first trips were in the summer at dawn - it was already light, there were practically no cars on the roads yet, there was time to drive through the streets when no one bothers you to concentrate, study and remember signs, the time of work of traffic lights. I recommend driving through all the crossroads and interchanges that frighten you in the morning, remembering how to drive them in a relaxed atmosphere, you will not get lost on them at rush hour. For example, I circled all the necessary areas and roads several times, until I remembered everything until automatic. Overcoming the fear of first trips - you can go on a weekend: there are fewer cars, drivers are not so nervous). Then - on weekdays, but in the middle of the day. And at the very end - rush hour, in the city center. The whole process will take 2-4 weeks, depending on the frequency of your trips, although everything is very individual.
Well, you still decided to ride a bike. Check your bike for brakes and adequate gear shifting. Believe me, it is not very pleasant to detect a faulty brake, for example, on a descent from a mountain or a jammed chain and wheel when a truck flies near you. Use a special bicycle tool for this.
Helmet. I know many adepts of bike rides without a helmet, that supposedly motorists of riders without a helmet go around at a greater distance, and that "but in Amsterdam they ride without helmets and nothing" and "I drive carefully and don’t fall." But I also believe in the laws of physics. And the fact that the skull is clearly inferior in strength to asphalt or the car body. And the fact that it is 100% impossible to predict when you fall and don’t touch your head with something solid is impossible. A motorist is at least protected by metal, while we are protected only with a helmet and bicycle clothes. I feel sorry for my brains, they are not made of polystyrene, so the helmet is a must have.
Wearing it for you or not is everyone's business. But in the city, he can protect you in the event of a fall or collision, and at least protect you from injury. And also - beginners, despite the fact that they drive slowly - fall more often and with more serious consequences, please take care of yourself, do not neglect protection.
Do not lick the curb. No need to ride a bicycle tightly to the curb. Keep at least half a meter for maneuvering, otherwise the car will overtake you or you will wipe the curb whether you yourself cling to it with a pedal. The closer you drive to the middle of the lane, the more likely it is that the car will overtake you by changing to another lane, reducing the risk of hooking you with a mirror as if you were driving in the same lane. It is clear that there is no need to become impudent and in a traffic jam proudly drive in the middle of the strip, collecting the tail from the dissatisfied, but still think about your safety. Also, rainfalls are located near the curb, where the wheel may fall and the road surface is not in perfect condition. And there’s a lot of garbage and you can catch a kaku that will pierce your camera.
Straightness of movement and signals. Drivers are not telepaths. They CANNOT predict or read your thoughts - whether you want to turn or wag on the road. The cyclist also has no turn signals. Therefore, hands remain. The rules clearly indicate how to indicate to the cyclist “turn left”, “turn right” and “stop”. Even if not all drivers remember them, then in any case, the car traveling after you will react to any movement of your hands and get ready for your change of lane or turn. The same applies to driving around parked cars or other obstacles on the road: look around, make sure that you are not driving a vehicle close by, show with your left hand that you are going to drive to the left and only then change the lane.
Designation of your bike on the road. Day and night. Absolutely, absolutely, 100%, exactly, exactly, the truth, the truth. Observe the other cyclists themselves at night - whom you will notice earlier and whether you will notice at all: with or without a flasher. Please do not rely on street lights or car headlights. The moment when you are noticed in a black jacket on a black bicycle (and EVERYTHING looks black at night) can be too late. Deadly late. A rear flasher or reflective bracelet is inexpensive, but will save you from colliding behind. Front light is equally important if you drive frequently in the evenings. On the roads there are pits, branches, dogs running across your trajectory and much more that the headlight will help to notice before you hit it and fall. You will also be seen driving cars at intersections or minor roads. I recommend turning the headlight on in the “flashing light” mode for a couple of seconds when you are driving out of yards or secondary roads and you see a car there - the active light source is more noticeable, against the background of more powerful car headlights your car will not get lost and a passing car will notice you miss. The same applies to the rear flasher - in the city in traffic, switch to flashing mode.