July 2013

Roundabout Bicycle Safety: Do You Know What To Do?

Cyclists are faced with all kinds of safety decisions when they ride their bikes on the road.  There are some situations where the rules might be a little confusing and you might not be certain of exactly what you should be doing.  Roundabout bicycle safety is one such situation.  Check out our tips below to find out the best ways to easily negotiate a roundabout on your bicycle and keep yourself safe.

Before you enter a roundabout you should make sure that you’ve taken all steps to ensure you can easily be seen.  Multilane roundabouts are particularly difficult to navigate if you’re not confident on your bicycle.

There are two ways to tackle a roundabout when you come across one.  Which choice you make will most likely depend on how experienced you are as a cyclist.

Your first option is to use the roundabout as though you were a pedestrian.  In this case you should dismount and use the pedestrian areas to get through the roundabout.  Once you are wheeling your bike, you can use the sidewalk and move around via the crosswalks, just like a pedestrian would.  If there is an island you can easily break up your crossing of the street into two sections.

Being on foot means you move a lot slower and don’t risk a moment of inattention which causes you to whiz through a roundabout without checking for traffic.

The second option is to continue riding on the roadway as you normally would, using the road rules that apply to all traffic, including bicycles.  Choose your lane and ride right in the middle so you can easily be seen.  Be extra vigilant as you move through the roundabout.  Make sure you give way appropriately and ride as though you expect the worst.

Constantly checking for cars (or worse, trucks!) means that you will identify motorists who haven’t seen you in time.  When you ride defensively you give yourself plenty of time to take evasive action or to stop completely if you are in danger of a collision.  Keeping your speed down on a roundabout will serve you well.

Never change lanes in the middle of the intersection.  You also should not overtake other vehicles or cyclists in the intersection.  Be patient and save your overtaking for when you have safely exited the roundabout.

If you are close to a truck who is also accessing the roundabout you should give it a very wide berth.  Large trucks have reduced visibility and it’s really easy for you to find yourself in a blind spot.  Trucks often need more than one lane to make a turn safely.  Riding into, or stopping in, the space they will use to make their turn is a recipe for disaster and you should make sure you never do it.

Make sure you clearly signal your intentions when turning and exiting the roundabout.  Once you are safely out of the intersection you should move to the bike lane as soon as you can and continue safely on your journey.

Should you have an accident on a roundabout be sure to contact us immediately for advice.  Get the Bicycle Accident Assistant app on your smartphone so you’re prepared, just in case.

Beginners Guide To Cycling Safety

When you first learn to ride a bicycle you may be wary of riding on the street with the normal traffic.  Your first attempts at riding with traffic can be scary and heart stopping.  If you plan to continue riding in traffic you’ll need to know how to safely negotiate the road rules and the traffic that is zooming past your ears!

Whether you ride for fitness, to commute to work, or if you are just riding for pleasure and exploring your local area there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you don’t become the next bicycle casualty in your neighborhood.

Bike Lane

So what should you remember when you’re a beginner cyclist?

1.  You need to obey all the road rules.

Not just the easy rules but also the more complicated ones.  Stop at red lights just like all the other traffic.  Don’t go whizzing through an intersection and expect cars to avoid you.  Make sure you always give way where required and make sure you understand who gives way at traffic lights and crossways when turning.  You need to be in the right at all times.

2.  Wear brightly colored clothing when you cycle.

Everything you can do to help vehicle drivers see you will be appreciated and will help you to stay safe.

3.  Riding during daylight hours is a lot safer than riding in the dark.

If you must ride after the sun goes down, make sure you are clearly marked with high visibility clothing and reflectors on the front and back of your bicycle.  You need to make sure you can be seen.

4.  Always wear a helmet when you ride.

You might think it’s OK to not worry about wearing a helmet for short trips.  Don’t be tempted to ignore this safety rule.  Helmets are proven to save lives.

5.  Be a consistent cyclist and make sure drivers can easily predict where you plan to ride.

Signal your intentions.  Ride towards the middle of your lane and don’t get yourself jammed between parked cars and moving traffic.

6.  Always keep a look out for doors opening on parked cars.

This is an awful way to come off your bike and can result in really serious injuries.  Try not to ride too close to cars parked along the side of the street.  When the door opens very often a driver either cannot see you or has not looked for cyclists before exiting their vehicle.  Your best bet is always to avoid them first.

7.  Never ever ride while listening to music through headphones.

This can be a hard one to resist, especially if you have a long way to travel on your bicycle.  Many accidents are caused because cyclists don’t hear vehicles approaching.  The same rules apply to using mobile phones while you ride.  It’s a bad idea.  Pull over if you need to make or receive a call while riding.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when you take up cycling.  Remember all of the above tips and you have a far greater chance of arriving at your destination safely.

Do you have the Bicycle Accident Assistant app on your smartphone yet?  Install it now just in case of a cycling related accident.  Be sure to Like Bicycle Attorney on Facebook for more safety tips and cycling related posts.