Spring fever is in full swing and many commuters are trading up a stuffy ride on the subway in favour of some fresh air on a bike. The rules of the road, whether for safety or for keeping the peace, apply to everyone, regardless of how many wheels they ride on. And, 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, reminds....
- Ring your bell! 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.
- 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.
- Listen for those bells! People on bikes don't have booming car horns, so keep your ears open for that cautionary 'ding'.
- Be mindful when 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.