Ah, yes, the “ride safe” section… Depending on how long you’ve been riding, you might be thinking that you don’t need to read it. Well, we hate to say it, but everyone should read this section. In fact, you shouldn’t just read it, you should live it and breathe it. You can also check out our Bike Commuting 101 guide for an illustrated take on this info.
Tips to help you stay safe and avoid crashes:
- RIDE PREDICTABLY AND FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD
- Don’t ever ride in the door zone – always be aware and scan ahead for people getting into and out of their cars.
- Beware of the Pittsburgh Left
- Use hand signals
- Make eye contact with drivers
- Frequently check behind you for approaching traffic
- Get lights and reflectors for your bike for night time riding (the law requires a front headlight and at least a rear reflector. We recommend a rear blinkie.)
- Don’t pass on the right (this includes buses!)
- File in at red lights (don’t stop to the right of cars)
- Wear a helmet and fit it properly
- Stay Calm and treat motorists and pedestrians with the respect that you expect as well.
Top three most common crashes:
- Motorist turning or merging into the path of a bicyclist (12.1 percent of all crashes). Almost half (48.8 percent) of these crashes involved a motorist making a left turn in front of a bicyclist approaching from the opposite direction.
- Motorist overtaking a bicyclist (8.6 percent of all crashes). Of these crashes, 23 percent appeared to involve a motorist who misjudged the space required to safely pass the bicyclist.
- Bicyclist turning or merging into the path of a motorist (7.3 percent of all crashes). Within this category, 60 percent involved a bicyclist making a left turn in front of a motorist traveling in the same direction.
For all you need to know on the most common types of crashes and how to avoid them visit BIKESAFE, by far the clearest, most comprehensive resource on bicycle safety on the internet.
Unsafe road conditions:
Many times crashes are caused not by a vehicle, but by the road itself. If you see unsafe road infrastructure, report it by clicking here and/or if you live in the City of Pittsburgh call 311. Many cycling road hazards are not detectable by inspectors in motor vehicles, and can be extremely dangerous to those of us on two wheels. In order for dangerous conditions to get fixed, we need you to report these hazards and get them on record. You can also call the Mayor’s 3-1-1 line to report hazards.
For more safe cycling info:
Be sure to check out the informative BikeSafe page on the State of Pennsylvania website.
Bicycling Magazine’s advice – Ride Smart, how to avoid the five most common bike-car collisions