Cycling etiquette

by The Coaches on September 21, 2020

10 Cycling Etiquette Tips When Sharing the Road With Drivers

There have been conflicts between cyclists and drivers since the dawn of man (maybe not that long, but you get the point). While many of these “disagreements” might have a valid argument, it never helps when either side digs in and isn’t willing to change or see the other’s point of view. Bikes nor cars are going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s best to try and get along.
Sharing the road with cars can be dangerous, but there are things to keep in mind to help protect yourself and foster a healthier relationship between motorists and cyclists. While you can’t control other drivers’ actions, you can control how you ride and conduct yourself on the road.
Here are 10 cycling etiquette (read: safety) tips to keep in mind when sharing the road with drivers.

Ride with traffic, not against it.
This first one is easy: Ride with the direction of traffic. Not only is riding against traffic illegal (a bike is considered a vehicle and follows the same laws as cars), it’s also dangerous. Drivers are looking for cars moving in the same direction, so this holds true when they come across bikes, too.
Ride on the road, not on the sidewalk.
As we mentioned above, bikes are held to the same laws as cars. Whenever possible, ride on the shoulder of the road instead of the sidewalk. This is safer for you, the cyclist, since cars will be expecting you in the street as you roll through an intersection or past a driveway. It’s also safer for pedestrians who aren’t expecting an incoming cyclist. If the road is too narrow or traffic is moving too fast, it’s appropriate to ride on the sidewalk, just slow your roll, and be mindful of others.
Take the lane.
Despite any name-calling or obscene gestures this might provoke, as a cyclist you have the right to take an entire lane. This isn’t recommended for a single rider unless the road gets too narrow, but certainly don’t be afraid to exercise this right when riding in a group. It’s safer to hold up traffic through a tight area than have cars try to pass you and potentially run you off the road.
Watch right turns.
When cars take a right-hand turn from the farthest lane to the right, rarely do they look over their right shoulder for cyclists. Watch for drivers making a right-hand turn and remove yourself from their blind spot by moving to their left—especially if you’re planning on going straight through the intersection.
Bike lanes are your best friend.
If you have bike lanes or bike paths in your city, use them! Not only are they much safer than sharing the road with cars, but they’re more efficient for cyclists, too. If the lane shares a road with cars, be sure to watch out for parked cars, or as mentioned above, cars turning right (or cars merging onto the road).
Follow the rules.
Just because you’re on a bike doesn’t mean you can roll through stop signs or red lights. Sure, it’s against the law, but there’s more to it than that: By following the traffic rules and patterns, you’re more predictable, which makes riding with cars safer. And FYI, this holds true for drinking and riding—be responsible when going out and riding home by bike.
Be consistent.
Another way to help prevent any issues when sharing the road with vehicular traffic is to be consistent. This means you need to ride in a straight line at consistent speeds whenever possible, and don’t try to weave your way through stopped traffic or take a shortcut through a parking lot.
Watch out for car doors.
We’ve all known someone who was riding on the shoulder of a road when all of a sudden, a parked car’s door opens, inevitably causing the rider to collide with the door. Depending on your speed, this can lead to serious injury. Be sure to give parked cars at least a few feet of room, and slow down to look for drivers sitting in cars who might decide to open the door.

Be careful turning left.
By now you should be more than aware of the importance of following the rules of the road, and left turns are no exception. This can be done one of two ways: either hop off your bike and wait on the sidewalk to cross the street in the crosswalk (walking your bike), or merge into the left turn lane and make your turn as you would a car. Choose whichever option feels the safest and most comfortable for you for each specific situation. And if you choose remaining with the cars, don’t forget your hand signals as you merge and turn.
Be mindful of your surroundings.
Only you will know what feels right and what doesn’t when sharing the road with vehicular traffic. If something’s not OK, or you’re not comfortable on a specific road, don’t be afraid to pull over, stop riding and call someone to pick you up or wait until traffic clears up. Keeping the previous nine points in mind will go a long way to ensuring your safety, but being hyperaware of your surroundings (leave headphones, your phone and music in your backpack or jersey pocket) ultimately falls on your shoulders.

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How bikeable is your town?

by The Coaches on September 7, 2020

How bikeable is your community? –NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Riding a bike is fun!

Bicycling is a great way to get around and to get your daily dose of physical activity. It’s good for the environment, and it can save you money. No wonder many communities are encouraging people to ride their bikes more often!

Can you get to where you want to go by bike?

Some communities are more bikeable than others: how does yours rate? Read over the questions in this checklist and then take a ride in your community, perhaps to the local shops, to visit a friend, or even to work. See if you can get where you want to go by bicycle, even if you are just riding around the neighborhood to get some exercise. At the end of your ride, answer each question and, based on your opinion, circle an overall rating for each question. You can also note any problems you encountered by checking the appropriate box(es). Be sure to make a careful note of any specific locations that need improvement. Add up the numbers to see how you rated your ride. Then, turn to the pages that show you how to begin to improve those areas where you gave your community a low score. Before you ride, make sure your bike is in good working order, put on a helmet, and be sure you can manage the ride or route you’ve chosen. Enjoy the ride!

Click here for survey:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/bikabilitychecklist1.pdf

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Cycling and safety

by The Coaches on August 19, 2020

From the time humans invented the wheel, we have been striving to reach more places. Bikes have been used for ages and they are the most eco-friendly, as well as the best mode of transport that humans have ever designed. Arguably, one of the best human-powered means of transportation, the bicycle, has seen a major resurgence in our area lately.

In this article, I would like to focus on safety for the cyclists and the drivers. Below are some of the major points/ideas on safety:

• Avoid certain streets/Time your rides: There are certain streets that do not lend themselves to safe riding due to car volume, little to lack of shoulders, too many businesses, entrances/exits to retail, quality of road surface. Stay away from riding during rush hour due to higher car volume, more aggressive/irritable driving and avoid riding certain roads in the 6PM to 9:PM range as there is a high accident percentage during that period.

• Helmets: Every bike ride begins with putting on a helmet. But, it is equally important that you ensure a proper fit so your helmet can best protect you. Size can vary between manufacturers. Follow the steps to fit a helmet properly. It may take time to ensure a proper helmet fit, but your life is worth it. It is usually easier to look in the mirror or have someone else adjust the straps. Be sure to visit your local bike shops for a helmet. Hilltop Bicycles locally in Summit, Cranford and Madison. Marty’s Reliable Cycles in Morristown and Randolph. Trek Bicyles in Stirling and Summit. Jay’s Cycle in Westfield.

• Rules of the road: Ride responsibly, and remember: All states require cyclists on the roadway to follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists. Go with the traffic flow and ride on the right in the same direction of other vehicles. Go with the flow-not against it! Be courteous in your riding! Website: https://www.nhtsa.gov/

• Signal often: As noted above with the rules of the road, signal as you would expect a vehicle to do. That makes you more predictable to the motorists around you.

• Re-think music players/phones: As you would expect from motorists, do not text, listen to music or use anything that distracts you from concentrating on the road/traffic. You want to be able to hear vehicles coming behind you and on your left.

• Light up/Visibility: Consider using a light or multiple lights at all times of day. This will help in motorists being able to see you more clearly. Along the same lines, think about what you wear to ride in an effort to make you more visible.

Drivers: Share the road
People on bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as people behind the wheel of a vehicle.

• Yield: Remember cyclists have the same rights as a motorist and NEVER underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a cyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
• Parking lots: At stop signs, in parking lots when backing up, parking, etc…search your surroundings for other vehicles including bicycles.
• Turning right on red: Be aware when turning right on red to look behind and to the right to avoid hitting a cyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning.
• Speed limit: Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
• Room/space: Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass cyclists as would any other vehicle-when it is safe to move over into the adjacent lane. Along those lines, please DO NOT honk your horn if the cyclist is over to the right or if you are warning them of your passing.

The roads are meant to be enjoyed by all. Please remember these and all other safety tips from valid sources.

Mickey Cassu

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#DecemberMAN #SantaMAN

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