This guide is designed to provide cyclists with an overview of the most common road hazards and tips on avoiding them. Cycling is a great form of exercise and transportation. It provides many benefits to the rider, including physical and mental health, environmental sustainability, and financial savings. But like any other form of transportation, cycling isn’t without risks. Road hazards can be a major concern for cyclists, especially those new to riding on roads.
As a cyclist, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards that can be encountered on the road and to know how to navigate them safely. This guide will help you to do just that.
Potholes are one of the most common and dangerous hazards faced by cyclists. Potholes are caused by water seeping through cracks in pavements and roads, freezing during cold weather, and thawing during warm weather, leading to larger cracks and chunks of pavement popping out. Potholes can cause significant damage to wheels and tires and even cause cyclists to lose control of their bicycles. Potholes and other road defects can cause serious accidents and injuries to cyclists.
To avoid potholes, cyclists should be on the lookout for changes in the pavement and be prepared to swerve around potholes if necessary. When cycling at night, it’s important to be aware of streetlights and shadows that could indicate the presence of a pothole. And of course, it is vital to have great bike lights.
Related Post: 7 of the Best Bike Lights for Night Riding and Commuting
T-junctions can be tricky for cyclists, especially if the road bends or curves. These road junctions occur when two roads intersect at a point that looks like the letter “T.” A cyclist approaching a T-junction will typically travel straight ahead on one of the two roads.
The primary concern at this intersection is that drivers approaching from the side may not be expecting a cyclist and could, therefore, miss them or misjudge the speed at which they’re traveling. To avoid potential incidents, cyclists should always slow down when approaching a T-junction. They should also look both ways to ensure that no vehicles come from either side before entering the intersection.
Where possible, cyclists should avoid traveling directly into the center of a T-junction, as this can obstruct the view of any oncoming vehicles. Furthermore, cyclists should be mindful of any cars closely following them, as these can pose a serious risk when traveling at T-junctions.
Cyclists must share the roadway with pedestrians and be prepared to come across them at any time. Pedestrians do not always look both ways before crossing a street, so cyclists must approach any pedestrian crossings with caution.
Cyclists should slow down when approaching a pedestrian crossing and give pedestrians plenty of space when passing them. It’s important to note that cyclists must adhere to traffic laws that apply to pedestrians. This includes following posted speed limits and always yielding to pedestrians with the right of way.
Cyclists should give audible signals to indicate their presence when passing pedestrians on a multi-use path or sidewalk. Ultimately, cyclists should always be courteous to pedestrians and mindful that they have the right to use the same roads as cyclists. (Except when otherwise signposted.)
Related Post: 7 Helpful Tips for New Bike Commuters
Rain, snow, and other forms of moisture can make roads slippery, especially when they haven’t had time to dry properly after a shower or snowstorm. Wet roads can significantly reduce the grip of a cyclist’s tires on the ground, making it difficult to steer and apply brakes safely.
In wet conditions, cyclists should be cautious and reduce their speed to account for slippery conditions. Avoid making sudden turns, as these can be more difficult to manage in wet conditions. Wet roads can also create hydroplaning hazards that cause cyclists to lose control of their bikes. In order to avoid hydroplaning, cyclists should let their tires roll freely over the ground and not accelerate or brake aggressively.
Parked cars can pose a danger to cyclists, as drivers exiting or entering their vehicles may not see the cyclist in time to avoid a collision. To minimize the risk of an incident, cyclists should take extra care when riding in areas with parked cars. When passing parked cars, cyclists should make sure that they are at a far enough distance from the vehicle in case the driver unexpectedly opens a door.
Cyclists should also check their surroundings to ensure that a vehicle is not about to pull out of a parking spot. Where feasible, cyclists should avoid riding directly between parked cars, as this can obstruct their view of oncoming traffic.
Uneven Road Surfaces
Uneven road surfaces such as trenches, ridges, and gravel can be difficult for cyclists to traverse. These surfaces can be hazardous at night, when cyclists may not be able to see them in time to slow down or adjust their route. If a cyclist must travel on an uneven road surface, they should take extra caution and check for any potential hazards.
They should also be prepared to swerve suddenly to avoid unexpected bumps or potholes. Cyclists should reduce their speed when traveling on uneven surfaces and be prepared for sudden roadway changes. Wet or icy conditions can increase the severity of uneven surfaces; therefore, cyclists should be extra vigilant in these weather conditions.
Debris on the roadway, such as pebbles, glass, and other objects, can be hazardous for cyclists. Glass shards, for example, can puncture bike tires, while pebbles can cause skidding and loss of control. To reduce the risk of an accident, cyclists should always be on the lookout for objects in their path and be prepared to swerve around them if necessary.
For this reason, also try to stay in touch with your surroundings at all times. If you ever need to swerve to the left, it helps if you already know that there are no cars coming up on your left. This is where a rear-view mirror is invaluable.
When riding, cyclists should stay in visually well-lit areas and keep their headlamps low to allow their eyes to adjust to their surroundings. By being aware of their surroundings and prepared to take evasive action, if necessary, cyclists can help to ensure their safety on the roads.
Thanks to Maxine Carter for Contributing this Post
Maxine Carter is a Midwesterner at heart who landed in California, where she is pursuing her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves traveling, cycling, and her four-legged friends.
Check Out Our Most Popular Posts!
Did you enjoy this post or find it helpful? If so, please support our blog!
We write this blog because we love cycling. But we also need to earn a living, so we REALLY would appreciate if you click through to one of our reputable affiliates for your online shopping. We are proudly affiliated with Amazon, which sells pretty much everything, and has outstanding shipping and return policies. When you buy from our affiliates we make a small commission, and this is the only way we earn any income. Plus, it costs you nothing at all - a real win/win situation!