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What not to do on a bike in traffic

What not to do on a bike in traffic

A friend just posted a link to a great site about bicycle safety. I can’t recommend strongly enough giving this clear, simple page a read. Especially if, like me, you have a crazy habit of putting your kids in harms way, er, riding your bike with your kids.

To my knowledge, there are two basic camps of bicycle safety: those that advocate treating your bicycle like any other vehicle on the road, and those who advocate theory of invisibility: assume the cars won’t see you, and stay out of their way at all costs.

This page falls more into the former camp, which as a driver I endorse. My life is much better when cyclists behave like cars behave, and stay highly visible. It’s a little scary to ride in traffic, and sometimes people get angry (especially if you are *gasp* riding with a child in tow), but I still think it’s the safest course of action. I can’t really speak about the invisibility option, because I have never tried it. It seems dangerous to me.

If you want more good info about safe, effective riding on city streets, I suggest The Art of Urban Cycling, by Robert Hurst. This book teaches a medley of vehicle-style cycling and using intuition to know when to break the rules. I read it when I was getting back on the road this past fall and found it extremely helpful.

Even more helpful than a book or a good website when you’re starting out riding is a more experienced cycling buddy. See if you can find someone who’s been doing it awhile to go for a few rides with you. There is no replacement for a live teacher.

(ps. the photo is of course not what it appears to be. my daughter is testing the size of her brand-new birthday bike in her grandmother’s driveway. she is not actually even riding, let alone riding on a busy street in traffic with no helmet.)

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