An infographic was posted recently on Facebook by Peleton Magazine (image below) to which a good friend of mine responded with it being one of the dumbest things she had ever seen and that it would piss drivers off even more with cyclists.
I totally respect what she said and where she was coming from with this because at first glance it may appear that way. BUT once you have experienced all of these scenarios first hand you will see what Peleton Magazine is saying here and why they posted this as a good reminder.
Here was my response to my friend. I feel inclined to share this with you as I believe it is a really important information for new cyclists and a great reminder for the experienced ones.
"This is a really good infographic. As you know, I have been riding for a lot of years. I have had each of these scenarios happen to me. The sideswipe is what I call getting “buzzed” or “squeezed”. This is especially important going up hills. You stay out a little more than usual towards the middle of the road because believe it or not cars are crazy and will pass you in the middle of the hill not knowing that another car is actually coming over the top putting everyone in a life and death situation. The idea is that staying out to the left deters them from making that move. It happened to me, Andrew and a friend this summer on a blind corner. It was scary with tires squawking and everything!
The other close call I had was in North Vancouver with the Right Hook. Had I known to “own my lane” it would never have happened. I nearly went right into the back of him. I braked as hard as I could and was skidding sideways to avoid him. I was shaking the rest of my ride home and he didn’t stop to see if I was okay.
AND with the Drive Out and the Left Cross situations. A good and experienced rider will tell you that you should slow down in this situation and make eye contact with the driver to make sure he/she knows you are there. I do this all the time and this is what I teach my clients. It is being as aware as possible of your surroundings and having good defensive skills (most people don’t know your bike will skid and wipe you out or flat your tire if you brake hard…both have happened to me :S) among a number of other things.
Having said all that, we don’t ride out towards the middle of the lane like that all the time. Just in certain situations like riding in a city with lots of traffic and intersections and on hills.
Drivers have to learn to slow down and have patience around bikes because you’re right…we don’t stand a chance against them. Bikes are here to stay though and there will be more and more of us on the road in the coming years. I really feel that there is a lack of education between drivers and cyclists on why we do what we do as riders on our bikes. We are only trying to keep ourselves as safe and as visible as possible. Mind you there are riders out there that give us all a bad name hence the reason why I teach what I teach my clients. The riders who come through my clinics end up being awesome riders and this is one of big reasons I teach. My motto is to keep riders and drivers as safe as possible by teaching bike skills, proper etiquette and safety.
Anyway, just wanted to shed some light on that infographic. I know it may seem crazy to recommend riding like that but it does work out for the best in most situations. :)"
Hope you took a little something away from all of that. And if you would like to come out and be a part of one of my clinics, stay tuned for the unveiling of all of my cycling clinics for 2015! I would love to have you! Below the infographic you can sign up for my newsletter which means you will be the FIRST to know about them as I announce them! :)
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