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.
6. Take That Lane
This is just what it sounds like. Taking your place in the middle of a lane because it’s unsafe at the edge of it.
This is mostly done on streets where the traffic lanes are not very wide, so it’s not safe for you and a car to be side-by-side. You need to be safe while out there on the streets, so you bike in the middle of the lane, effectively “taking” it. Most of the time (especially downtown), you’ll be moving at the same speed (or faster) than vehicular traffic, so you’ll fit right in to traffic.
If you’re moving slower than traffic, remember that you’re a vehicle and have a right to be there if you’re abiding by the laws, and move out of the lane whenever you get a chance.
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