Riding a bicycle in the inner city is exhilarating but dangerous. Here are seven tips from an experienced city cyclist to make your ride fun and safe.
1. Any sense of security is a false sense of security.
Riding a bicycle is fundamentally unsafe. There is a lot that can go wrong and precious little crash padding. Your only real protection is your reflexes. Never take anything for granted on a bicycle. Anything that distracts you is dangerous. You should never, ever let your guard down when you are on a bicycle.
2. Never cross in front of a car without making eye contact with the driver
If this sounds to you like you will have to go too slow, then you are correct. This is difficult, and it is time-consuming, but it is essential. In the age of texting and driving, the only way to be absolutely sure that the car sees you is to look into the eyes of the driver.
3. Never be afraid to argue with a driver.
On the other hand, you have a massive advantage over drivers. They are sitting down in their little cars, and you tower over them, flushed with exercise and the picture of health. They know that they are little tyrants trapped in traffic, and they envy you the freedom of your bicycle. What is more, in a city traffic, a bicycle is often faster than a car. In the inner city, it is often possible, when a careless driver nearly runs you off the road, to catch up the dangerous car at the next traffic signal. Do not be shy. Ride up beside their window and let them know how close they came to hurt you. You will be doing all cyclists a favor.
4. Do not listen to music.
The problem with listening to an MP3 player while you ride your bicycle is that music is too good. There is nothing better than a thumping soundtrack while you are working out. When you are on a bicycle it is simply too dangerous. You need your ears.
5. Avoid cars at night.
It is easy to avoid automobiles, especially if you are in a neighborhood that you know well. A driver at night might be distracted, tired, drunk, or simply unlucky. Do not give them the opportunity to make a mistake that would hurt you. Take side roads. Cross the street to get away from cars, or go onto the sidewalk, or simply get off and walk. If you are on a bicycle, then you probably are not in a big hurry anyway. Take the time, enjoy the night air, and make sure you arrive safely.
6. Safety is everything.
Riding a bicycle is great fun and good exercise. Help make sure that your good time lasts for a long time by being careful and safe. The most important thing that you can do as a cyclist is keep yourself free from harm. Go slow, be aware, and make it home in one piece. Make sure your give your bike a regular checkup at your local bike shops to make sure there are no faulty parts.