If you have been watching the Tour de France, you will have seen many cyclists crashing. When the professionals crash, they usually get back and carry on riding because they crashed with other cyclists on a road closed to cars.
If you come off your bike riding around Louisiana’s streets, your next ride is more likely to be to the hospital in an ambulance than on your bicycle. That is because the biggest danger comes from motor vehicles, not other cyclists.
What can you do to stay safe when cycling?
As a cyclist, there is only so much you can do to keep yourself safe because you cannot control drivers’ behavior. However, the little you can do is worth doing.
- Know the most dangerous areas: Accidents are more likely to happen at junctions than on straight roads. Take extra care anywhere a driver could pull out in front of you or turn across you. Lines of parked cars are another danger, especially outside shops or schools, where drivers may be parked momentarily and in a hurry. Watch out for them opening a door or pulling out without looking.
- Make yourself visible: You do not need to go around like a tacky Christmas tree, but do not expect drivers to see you if you go around like a stealth ninja. Road position is as important as color and lighting when trying to stay visible.
- Be predictable: Most drivers know that there are cyclists on the road. Yet, they expect to see them on cycle paths or the nearside of the road, not coming down the middle lane of the highway in the wrong direction.
Despite your precautions, a driver could still knock you off your bicycle. Showing how you made efforts to stay safe can help you hold them responsible and claim the compensation you will need if injured in a bicycle collision.