Cycling is not dangerous and neither is driving, but unskillful cycling and unskillful driving are. Following are five skilful tactics for how to ride positively in traffic.
Do your best to dress up like a Christmas tree, albeit unfashionably out of season. One light is not enough. Always have two, just in case the batteries run out in one of them. Wear bright coloured clothing. Ride in groups as riding with other cyclists helps improve your visibility and increases cyclists’ presence on the road.
Stick to the road rules
It is all too easy to skip a red light or be influenced by others doing so. But think of those watching. You never know if a child is watching you do this from a car or from the side of the road. Likewise what if you are riding in a bunch that does this and you reinforce it, while a 13-year old rider is also on that bunch, and then does it while riding alone. Think of what your actions are implicitly teaching those around you.
If another cyclist or a driver does something inappropriate educate them. Likewise if any roads are unsafe, contact your local council and help come up with solutions. Be a part of the solution and do not sit back and expect solutions to happen of out inaction. If you are driving be mindful of cyclists and if you see someone driving unsafely around cyclists take their number plate details and report the incident.
Do not react with anger
What impact will the consequences of your behaviour have on the next cyclist a motorist encounters? Your angry reaction may cause or reinforce a driver’s negative attitude towards people on bikes. Instead of reacting in anger, develop the skill of giving them a smile. If they are throwing their fist at you, be happy, as at least this means they have seen you! If their actions were dangerous take their number plate and lodge a complaint.
Signal to other road users before you change your position on the road – that is, when changing lanes or turning etc. Riding in a visible position on the road and always signaling your intended changes of direction will educate those behind and around you that while riding your bike, you are predictable and normal.