Coming from a cyclist's perspective, most of the time it's the car's fault. They have better brakes and better maneuvering. Not to mention are the sole controller of the multi-ton metal high speed box involved in the moment at hand.
But did the cyclist do everything in his power to prevent an incident?
Here are some guidelines to doing your best at stopping a potentially lethal situation while sharing the road.
If I could sum up being visible in one word, it would be 'lights.' While reflective material and bright colors are helpful, you need to think like a driver. There are flashy billboards, neon signs, reflective signs, lights on the dash, tons of bright things in a driver's eyes. However, bright and/or flashing lights demand similar attention as ambulances and traffic.
In fact, it's Florida law that, from dusk until morning, bike riders must have a white front light and a rear red light visible and on. I always go by the rule, if the cars have their lights on, I need mine.
Instead of sacrificing your aero position and superhero-like spandex look, be conscious of visibility when buying cycling apparel. Here are a couple suggestions:
|A safe product, without being too "flashy"|
Not only are these shorts really comfortable, but Gore has put reflective designs on the leg panels to let people know you're there!
For more info on the Xenon bibs/shorts, click here
Hincapie Edge Jersey
Hincapie Edge clothing is designed with super light weight and breathable 'TourTek' fabric comparable to many higher-end cycling jerseys. They have also included HyperOptic elastane appears normal in daylight and illuminates when exposed to bright lights in dark conditions. A genius combination of looking fast and being safe!
For More info on the Hincapie Edge clothing, click here
Light & Motion 200 Commuter Combo
Reflective is good, but lights are really the best way to make sure you are seen. It is also important to make sure you see what is going on. The 200 Commuter Combo is bright enough to show you the cars and the cars where you are from in front and behind. It also has side lights so the traffic doesn't lose sight of you when passing.
For more info on the 200 Commuter Combo, click here
Obey all traffic laws
If you want to be considered an active member of the line of traffic, act like it. Take a rest at the stop light instead of inching out until the intersection is clear. It is law that bikers must put one heel on the ground at each stop sign. If you do not respect the laws of the road, others around you will not give you respect.
Plus, many bikers find that when they respond to the laws on the road, they are able to take the lane, giving them more respect and space on the road.
Know your place
I know, trust me, bikes are traffic. But let's be frank, biker vs. car, car wins. Know your route and try to stay off overly aggressive roads. Don't tempt fate! Remember, they may be completely in the wrong, but the courts can't save your life. Meaning (and I think everyone agrees). Do whatever it takes to stay alive in hectic traffic situations. Don't stand your ground on principle!
Take the high road
If you are feeling crowded, got cut off, or otherwise disrespected by a driver, be the bigger person. Do not attack them or succumb to road rage. Remember, your vehicle gets rid of stress. You are also the ambassador for all cyclists in that moment. By all means, make sure your presence is known but help them to come away with a heightened awareness of the lesser-wheeled vehicles instead of an aim for them!
If you ride your bike with any consistency, you need a Road ID. Good for any time one may not have adequate ID on their person, Road ID provides, name, loved-one's contact info, as well as a serial number to plug into roadid.com and see medical or other pertinent information.
For more information about Road ID, click here
Links to helpful sites.
Here are a few resources everyone should take a look at and be aware of.
Everyone should be familiar with this organization. They are at the forefront of equipping cyclists with the right know-how and attempting to make the streets safer for all two-wheelers!
The City of Orlando, Department of Transportation's official pedestrian and Cycling site.
City of Orlando, Cycling Liaison
The City's official liaison to the cycling community, Sgt. Woodhall. He is in charge of the Orlando Police Department Downtown Bicycle patrol unit.