If you’re riding at night, you should absolutely use a front headlight. Even for daytime riding, a bright white light that has a flashing mode can make you more visible to motorists. LED headlights last ten times as long on a set of batteries as old-style lights.
You might be tempted to ride in the parking lane where there are no parked cars, dipping back into the traffic lane when you encounter a parked car. This puts you at risk for getting nailed from behind. Instead, ride a steady, straight line in the traffic lane.
Some motorists like to pass cyclists within mere inches, so moving even a tiny bit to the left unexpectedly could put you in the path of a car. Practice holding a straight line while looking over your shoulder until you can do it perfectly. Most new cyclists tend to move left when they look behind them, which of course can be disastrous.
Ride far enough to the left that you won’t run into any door that’s opened unexpectedly. You may be wary about riding so far into the lane that cars can’t pass you easily, but you’re MUCH more likely to get doored by a parked car if you ride too close to it than you are to get hit from behind by a car which can clearly see you.
CAN-BIKE Courses teach riding skills, traffic analysis skills, and collision avoidance techniques. (www.bicycle.ns.ca/education/)
According to the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Respect for the rights of all road users goes a long way towards avoiding collisions.
The majority of collisions involving bicyclists and motorists occur at intersections.
Many motorists misjudge the speed of bicycles. Experienced cyclists can travel at 25-35 km/h on a flat surface and up to 50km/h going downhill. It is easy to misjudge their speed and turn too soon, directly in front of the bicyclist. If it is not safe to pass before turning, slow down and move behind the cyclist before making the turn. DO NOT pass and cut!
Motorists making turns across oncoming traffic must watch for cyclists as well as motor vehicles. Too often, motorists misjudge the speed of an oncoming bicyclist and turn in front of them. Motorists should always stop and wait for oncoming traffic, including bicycles, to pass before turning.
Getting Doored – When exiting your car, look behind you for approaching bicyclists. Don’t open your door unless it’s safe to do so. Please keep in mind that bicycles are much more vulnerable in a collision. Motorists must realize that they are operating a large vehicle and with that comes responsibility.