Keeping Peace on the Streets – Cycling Etiquette

Fresh air on a bike trumps a cramped subway commute any day, particularly when the weather warms and spring fever sets in. The rules of the road, whether for safety or for keeping the peace, apply to everyone, regardless of how many wheels they are riding on. Sadly, road rage isn’t limited to those in cars.

The tenets of being a civilized cyclist are more than just being courteous: they ensure safety. Andrea Garcia, Director of Advocacy at the Toronto Cyclists Union offers up some advice for sharing the streets.

Cyclists

  • Ring my beeeeeell! Unlike car horns, which are the audible equivalent of an expletive and a fist shake, bike bells sound gentle and friendly. Use bells gratuitously to let everyone know you are close by. (I hope this song is stuck in your head now, too.)
  • Move predictably. Pass on the left (just as you would when driving on the highway), merge gently with cars and other cyclists and always signal your intended direction.
  • Be smart. Follow up the rules by obeying traffic lights (ahem, red lights), and be wary of anything that stunts your awareness, like music cranked in your ear buds. If your bike tires are larger than 61cm (unless you are four years old and peddling like hell on your tricycle, this likely applies to you), stay off of the sidewalk.

Motorists

  • Listen for those bells! People on bikes don’t have booming car horns, so keep your ears open for that cautionary ‘ding’.
  • Be mindful of making rights. When turning right, be sure to check your mirror and blind spot to ensure a cyclist is not in your path.
  • No one wants a door prize. Watch when opening your door and remind other passengers in your car to please do the same.

For more advice from Andrea, check this smart video.

~ Karen Cleveland | Photo from charikichi.tumblr.com

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