There are those who use the bicycle for efficiency, out of necessity, or simply for the pleasure of riding. If you are just starting out in urban cycling, it is better to prepare before hitting the streets.
Here we share ten mistakes that you should avoid to make your journeys safer.
1. Riding with a bike in poor condition
Don’t take unnecessary risks. If you suspect or know that your bike is not in optimal condition, it is better to leave it at home and schedule a visit to the workshop. To avoid these situations, it is important to give your preventive bike maintenance regularly. Don’t forget to give it a quick check (tires, brakes, gears) every time you go out to ride.
2. Venturing without knowing how to control the bike
To become an excellent urban cyclist, you have to start with the basics. Before venturing out onto the streets, it is essential that you know how to control your bike well.
Here are some of the primary skills you will need:
- Control your weight during an emergency stop
- Use your bike gears correctly
- One-handed control
- Continue in a straight line even when looking back
- Avoid obstacles without losing control
3. Take to the streets in fear
You always have to go out pedaling safely! Bicycles are one more vehicle, and therefore you must circulate on the street. The sidewalks are for pedestrians. The surest way to take your position in traffic is to do it with confidence. Mastering the skills indicated in the previous point and knowing your rights as a cyclist will give you the security you need.
4. Not knowing how to position yourself in traffic.
When you ride a bike, you are part of the traffic, and therefore you must take the center of your lane. Driving along the shore, close to the sidewalk, is dangerous. In this area, you will find sewers, garbage, and parked cars. Keep an adequate distance from parked vehicles at all times to avoid an unexpected door slam.
5. Forgetting to look back from time to time
When you are part of the road flow, keep in mind that there is always something happening around you. It is important to pay attention to what happens behind you, especially:
- Before changing lanes
- Join or leave a bike path
- Any sudden change in direction or slowdown
6. Not communicating your movements
Establishing communication with other street users helps prevent incidents. Before making any move, announce your intentions through hand signals and make sure they have seen you. As much as possible, try to make eye contact.
7. Approaching an intersection on the far right
The safest way to approach an intersection is from the center of your lane. Whether you are going straight ahead, turn right or left; anticipate and take the most suitable lane. If you come to a stop, do not go ahead of the cars on the right side (close to the sidewalk), this makes you invisible to drivers. It is best to do it on the left side, or if not, keep your position in the center of the lane and wait for it to turn green. Avoid accidents!
8. Take a roundabout by the shore.
Similar to intersections, the safest way to approach a roundabout/roundabout is to take the center of the lane most appropriate to the direction you are going. This will keep you visible at all times, and you will be able to communicate your movements more effectively.
9. Drive very close to heavy vehicles
If you come across a truck, bus, or trailer, it is best to keep a safe distance. When approaching an intersection or roundabout, avoid standing to the right side of the vehicle. This is a blind spot and is especially dangerous if the car turns to the right. It is best to go ahead or keep your distance behind the heavy vehicle.
10. Not informing you
Knowing the traffic regulations and how to move is essential to pedal safely. If you have questions, ask and investigate. Nowadays, it is very easy to find resources such as urban cycling manuals, traffic regulations, and even tutorials that will help you to inform you about your rights, obligations and to develop your skills on the bike.
We hope this article is helpful for you. If you know someone who could use this article, please share it.