Today we continue a series of 10 posts about cycling with car traffic. These are things we have learned from years of riding in downtown Toronto. Some of these tips you may have seen before in other places, and some will be new.
This is not meant to be a complete list… there are more secrets out there… but here are 10 that you’ll find very useful.
NOTE: These are geared towards downtown cycling, since that’s what I’m most familiar with. These all assume that you already know about proper lighting and safety (ie. helmets are useful, stopping at red lights is advised, etc.) precautions, and know that riding on sidewalks is one of the most unsafe things you can do, for both pedestrians and yourself.
Past tips are found at the bottom of this post – here’s tip #2:
2. Ride In A Straight Line
Don’t ride in the gutters and then swing out into the road to avoid the drains. This throws drivers off-guard because they aren’t thinking about the drains and aren’t expecting you to do this. There’s a very good chance you’ll get honked at if you do this, because nothing scares a driver more than a cyclist swerving in front of their car.
Instead, imagine that the entire length of the road is lined with gutters. Ride at least that far away from the curb. It’s hard at first, because you may be afraid of those cars driving beside you, but most drivers will pass you at a safe distance the further you ride out from the curb.
This also applies when there are a lot of parked cars… instead of swerving in towards the curb between parked cars before swerving back out again, keep riding in a straight line… it makes you more predictable to car drivers.
Check out the full “10 Secrets to Cycling with Traffic” series:
- Drivers Don’t Want to Kill You
- Ride in a Straight Line
- Play by the Rules
- Avoid the “Stoplight Squeeze”
- Signal Sensibly
- Take That Lane
- Make Them THINK You’re Unpredictable
- Ride With Others
- Avoid the Right Hook
- Practice Your Route