Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pedal Points; Visibility Part 2

Being seen is crucial for road safety, for all road users. Cyclists have the added advantage of being able to hear motor traffic. (that's why it is a bad idea to wear earphones and listen to music while riding)  Motorists generally cannot hear a cyclist which makes it particularly important to be seen.
In addition to bright clothing and lights as mentioned in my previous article, a crucial aspect to being seen is how you position yourself on the road. Many riders on a road tend to stay as close to the right as comfortable for the conditions. The rules of the road actually say that a cyclists must ride as near as practicable to the right side of the street, except when turning left from a left-turn lane.This is not always the safest approach. By riding far to the right, a cyclist often cannot be seen as well by intersection traffic because they are hidden by parked cars or vegetation. A driver tends to be looking for other cars in the middle of the road, not for cyclists in the shadows of the shoulder, or even worse, on the sidewalks (More about that on a later article) Another danger is being in the drivers' blind spot such as pulling up along a cars' right side in an intersection
Do everything you can to make yourself visible, but ride like you were invisible. Never assume a driver can see you!

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