I got a pingback from Adrian Trenholm who has written a great piece, 10 tips for safe cycling, partly inspired by my recent accident. He lists
- Wear a helmet.
- Know the rules of the road and stick to them
and more, each with a good explanation why. I’d like to add a couple more points:
Look after your bike. In the past I have found that a combination of worn brake blocks, stretched cables, and wet rims meant that I suddenly found nothing was going to slow me down!
Don’t run red lights. This is really part of Adrian’s number two item, but I suspect the single most annoying thing cyclists do to city motorists is ignore red lights. Or rather, not ignore them, but go through them anyway. I know it annoys me when I’m driving, and I never do it when I’m cycling. Just remember that those drivers you’ve just left at the lights will be passing you in a minute. Only now they’re annoyed with you. When you need to swerve to avoid that pothole, they’ll be much less inclined to give you the room you need.
Adrian also has a great discussion, “Never, ever get into a fight with a ‘bike-hater.'” in the same post. I couldn’t agree more. I sometimes shock myself when I react badly to a car ‘buzzing’ me, or to a beeped horn because someone thinks I shouldn’t be on the road. It’s easy to want to be aggressive when you are ‘bullied’ by a car, but as Adrian says…
Let’s be clear about this: you might be in the right, but your antagonist has over a ton of metal at his disposal. When a cyclist mixes it up with a motorist, the cyclist will always lose. Just let the motorist go.
Don’t let us put you off though. Cycling to and from work is a great way to get fit. My trip home takes pretty much the same time as public transport, so I’m not taking more time out of my day. Because it serves a purpose (getting me home) it’s much easier to stick with it than, say, going to the gym. When I had a gym membership it was easy to say to myself “I’ll leave it tonight and go tomorrow… or next week”.
Give it a try. Get that bike out of the shed and try riding to work a couple of days a week.