Keep Riding: Cycling Safety Best Practices: Tip #1 - Know The Law
Yeah, yeah, yeah - I'm sure you think I'm like a broken record right now, talking about my accident over and over. Well, that's partly because the aftermath of that one split-second mishap is bigger than any of us initially anticipated and I'll be dealing with it for the next two to three years (more likely three). But putting all that aside, do we move forward and hop right back on the bike after an accident or do we shy away? I'll bet you can guess which way I went. Read on to find out!
After my accident, quite a few people asked me if I was still going to ride. Of course I was going to ride again! However, I have to admit that I still don't feel as comfortable out there on the road and I am much more leery of riding with other people or near others. I've only been on a handful of rides since the accident and I have chosen to ride alone, I have avoided some multi-use trails and I have ridden at times when I expect there to be fewer people out riding. It might take awhile for me to feel as comfortable on the road as I used to feel, if I ever get back to that spot. However, maybe a heightened sense of awareness and caution is fine. I can save me hard efforts and and 100% comfort level for the trainer rides. Heck, here in Edmonton, I spend half my year on the trainer anyway. Still riding, though. This won't stop me.
So, let's get started with safe cycling best practices. We're taking this one step at a time, one tip, rule or thing you can to help keep us/you safe as much as possible:
Cycling Safety Best Practice #1: Be Predictable - Know The Rules and Follow Them
The more predictably you ride, the better everyone else in your proximity can react to your presence. One key reference we all have to guide our behaviour on the road are the rules of the road. So, make a point to know the rules and to follow the rules. Simple. If everyone followed all the rules all of the time, accidents would be far less common. We can only control our own actions and mitigate as many risks as possible and hope for the best. Know the rules in your community, province, city, county and make sure your ride partners are on the same wave length. But, don't just take my word for it all. Here's an excerpt from Canada Safety Council article "Safe Cycling Is Not Just For Children":
Overall, bicycling is a safe and enjoyable activity for riders of all ages who respect the rules of the road and keep a safety conscious attitude.
A bicycle is classified as a vehicle which belongs on the road. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. You must obey the same rules of the road when riding your bike as you do when driving your car.
Traffic laws help road users predict each other’s actions. Cyclists, like motorists, must ride on the right side of the road (except on two-way designated bicycle paths), be sober, stop for stop signs and red lights, signal turns, and yield to traffic that has the right-of-way.
reference: Canada Safety Council, permission requested and pending