Bicycles are fun, eco-friendly, and can be a safe way to travel. But intersections and parking lots can be perilous places for cyclists. This post describes some precautions you can take that can make it less dangerous to ride your bike in these sometimes risky spots.
Tips for Remaining Safe
There are several things we suggest you do to ensure your safety when you are enjoying a leisurely bike ride, working out, or commuting to and from school or work. Adhering to these tips can help you remain safe if you are on a bike.
Visibility is Key
One of the primary ways to avoid being in a bicycle accident at an intersection, in a parking lot, or anywhere else is to be seen. So many bicycle accidents happen because the cyclist is not visible to the motorist. Here are a few ways to be more visible to other vehicles:
- Wear bright clothing
- Reflective clothing is even better
- If you plan to ride at night, make sure your bicycle has lights
- Reflectors on your bike can make you easier to see
Other than trying to call attention to yourself, if you are on a bike, you should also behave predictably in order to be seen. Make sure that you signal so that other drivers see you are about to change lanes or turn. Being visible as well as predictable can make you safer when bicycling around parking lots or intersections.
Related Post: 7 of the Best Bike Lights for Night Riding and Commuting
Related Post: How to Use Bike Reflectors to Be More Visible
Avoid Riding in Another Vehicle’s Blind Spot
Blind spots can pose a risk to cyclists. They are areas where the motorist simply cannot see. The larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot.
It is safest to assume that the driver cannot see you, while also trying to avoid their blind spots. Assume you are invisible in parking lots, as drivers who are backing up often will not be able to see you. As cars back out and turn down aisles, they may not notice a bike, and things could go wrong quickly.
Signal when you are turning, and pause before crossing in front of a car to ensure they know you are there. Catching the eye of the driver will assure you, before crossing in front of it, that they are aware of your presence. It’s a step that only takes a second but can save you an enormous amount of hurt.
Traffic Rules Apply to Bikes Too
By traveling cautiously, you can avoid being in a bicycle accident. It is important that you follow the rules of the road. Pay attention to traffic signs and signals and obey them. Yield to pedestrians and other motorists when applicable.
When everyone follows traffic laws, the road is safer for everyone traveling on it. By driving carefully and predictably, you are most likely to make it to your destination safely.
Avoid Getting too Close
One of the safest things you can do is give other vehicles a wide berth. Make sure other vehicles have room to pass you or maneuver around you.
When biking through parking lots, do not ride too close to parked cars. Dooring accidents are one of the most common accidents that happen in parking lots. You never know when a motorist is going to fling their door open. If you are moving along at a decent pace and a door opens, you come to a dead stop and are often injured.
Staying out of the “door zone” can keep you safer. Giving everyone plenty of room is a way to ensure your safety.
Be Aware of Turning Vehicles
At intersections, turning vehicles can cause accidents for bicyclists. Pay attention to the cars around you. Hopefully, they will indicate they are turning with their signal light or a hand gesture.
Even if they do not supply a signal, stay behind them or find a place to safely pass if you must. When waiting on vehicles to turn, you may be in their path unknowingly, so keep an eye out and cycle defensively.
Practice Extra Caution at Intersections
One of the most dangerous areas that cyclists travel is through intersections. Even if you have the right of way, assume other motorists do not see you until you make sure they do. Sometimes, cars run red lights or try to make the light at the last second, throwing cyclists into harm’s way.
If there are pedestrians in crosswalks, yield to them. If motorists stop for pedestrians, do not pass them. It only takes a few extra seconds to keep everyone safe.
Related Post: 10 Top Tips to Not get hit by a Car on your Bike
Safety First for Cyclists
While intersections and parking lots certainly present obstacles for cyclists, most accidents can be avoided by following the tips above. It is also essential to remain alert. Distracted driving causes accidents. Drivers and cyclists can fall prey to distraction.
An awareness of your surroundings can help you avoid many potential hazards. Pay attention to road conditions, listen for vehicles that may be approaching, and look for other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. By practicing these tips, you can expect to enjoy many days of safe and happy cycling.
Related Post: When to Use Flashing Bike Lights
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