Road Cycling Etiquette: How to be Nice On the Road
Cycling is a popular sport, with road cycling being the most common form. However, cycling etiquette can sometimes be overlooked and this can lead to road rage and unnecessary conflict. It’s important for cyclists on the road to know how to behave in different situations so that everyone has a pleasant ride! In this article we will discuss the right etiquette in cycling on the road and what you should do when encountering other riders, cars or pedestrians.
Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
The first is simple: ride in traffic’s direction. Riding against traffic is not only unlawful (a bike is considered a vehicle and is subject to the same regulations as cars), but it is also dangerous. Drivers are looking for cars that are traveling in the same direction, and this applies to cyclists as well.
Take the right lane
As a bicycle, you have the right to take the entire lane, regardless of any name-calling or vulgar gestures. Unless the road becomes too tight, this isn’t recommended for a solo rider, but don’t be scared to use this right while in a group ride. Holding traffic up in a congested area is safer than having motorists try to pass you and maybe run you off the road.
Do not ride on the sidewalk
Bikes, as previously stated, are subject to the same regulations as cars. Ride on the shoulder of the road rather than the sidewalk whenever possible. Cars will be expecting you in the street when you wheel through an intersection or past a driveway, making this safer for you, the bicycle. It’s also safer for walkers who don’t anticipate a cyclist approaching. It’s okay to ride on the sidewalk if the road is too small or traffic is moving too quickly; just reduce your roll and be aware of others.
You should always use the bike lanes when they are available
Bike lanes provide a designated space for cyclists and motorists to share the road. When these lanes are present, be sure to use them! This will help keep you safe from traffic and also let drivers know that you’re there.
Although you may be subjected to name-calling or obscene gestures as a result of this, as a rider, you have the right to use the entire lane. A single rider isn’t recommended since the road becomes too tight, but don’t be scared to use this right when riding in a group. It’s safer to keep traffic up in a congested place than to have automobiles try to past you and maybe run you down.
Obey the rules of the road
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Just because you’re on a bike doesn’t mean you can run red lights or ignore stop signs. Cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists, and that includes yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times
When passing other cyclists, do so on their left side (or right if they are riding a unicycle). This is called taking the “draft” and allows both cyclists to move more quickly and easily. If there is significant space between vehicles, use it! It’s much better to slow down than risk an accident by trying to squeeze through a too-narrow space.
If there is a road hazard, like a pothole or glass, call out and warn the riders behind you. This will help keep them safe and allow them to avoid the hazard.
Keep an eye out for car doors
One of the most common causes of accidents for cyclists is getting doored. When passing a parked car, always be on the lookout for opened doors! If you can’t avoid them, try to slow down and go around as best as possible; if that’s not an option, then just brace yourself and hope for the best.
Be especially aware of this when in a group ride – cars are more likely to open their door if they see a pack of cyclists coming.
Turning left should be done with caution
When turning left, cyclists should always use caution. This is especially true when riding in a group; the group will naturally want to stay together and this can cause some riders to move into the oncoming lane of traffic. If you’re in the front of the group, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone makes it through the turn safely – even if that means stopping in the middle of an intersection.
Make sure to signal your turns well in advance so that other drivers (and cyclists) know what you’re doing.
Just as with driving a car, cycling has its own set of etiquette rules which help keep everyone safe and happy.
Stop means stop
One thing that all cyclists should remember is to stop at stop signs. Just because you’re on a bike doesn’t mean you can run red lights or ignore stop signs – that’s how accidents happen. Obey the rules of the road and everyone will be safer for it.
Use caution when parking your bike
When parking your bike, it’s important to use caution. Always make sure you’re not blocking traffic, and never park in a place where you might block pedestrians or doorways. It’s also a good idea to lock your bike up with a strong lock, especially if you’re leaving it in a busy area.
Recognize good behavior
As a cyclist, it’s important to recognize good behavior from both drivers and other cyclists. When you see someone do something courteous or safe, be sure to thank them – even if it’s just with a smile or nod. By doing this, we can all help create a positive cycling community.
Ride predictably on the road
When riding on the road, it’s important to be predictable. You can use hand signals to let other vehicles know where are you going. Being consistent is another technique to help prevent any complications when sharing the road with automobile traffic. This implies that if possible, you should ride in a straight route at steady speeds, and don’t try to weave your way around stopped traffic or take a parking lot shortcut and signaling your turns well in advance. It’s also helpful to ride at a moderate speed so that drivers can easily see and avoid you.
Wear your safety gears
When cycling, it’s important to always wear your safety cycling gear. This includes a helmet, reflective clothing, and lights if you’re riding at night. By wearing these items, you’ll be much more visible to drivers and will greatly reduce your risk of getting injured in a crash.
Always be visible on the road
As a cyclist, it’s important to always be visible on the road. This means wearing bright colors (or reflective gear) so that drivers can see you, especially at night or in bad weather. It’s also a good idea to keep your bike lights turned on, even during the day.
A very nice example of reflective cycling clothing is the Outernative Jackbag also has a high-reflective design that will make you visible to other motorists in low-light conditions.
This is an important safety feature, as it can help prevent accidents from happening. The bright color of this jacket bag will make you stand out when visibility is poor and increase your safety while riding at night, thus preventing cyclists from being “invisible” in the driver’s eye