It’s no secret, or argument, that road cycling has become more dangerous in the past several years. Many blame it on technology distracting drivers. Others blame it on crazy cyclists who shouldn’t be there in the first place. Honestly, there are nearly as many technologies to warn us, as there are to distract us. And, cyclists have been on the roads for decades, so it’s not some new crazy hobby that just popped up. Here, in no particular order, are 7 ways road cyclists can be sure that they have a safe and enjoyable ride experience…
#7 - OBEY THE LAWS - This is the easiest thing to do, yet almost no one actually does it. Cyclists are under the authority of the same laws as drivers. If it is “our road too”, then they are “our laws too”. Don’t be the guy, girl, or group that blows through stop signs and red lights, never signals, or hogs the lane. Learn more about Missouri Bike Laws HERE
#6 - GIVE DRIVERS THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT - This might be the most difficult thing on the whole list. Most drivers are terrified of moving around a cyclist or group of cyclists, and they want to just get away. If they make a mistake, don’t yell obscenities or throw hand gestures as if they intended to kill you. Though there are some combative drivers out there, and they are the easiest to remember, most drivers try to be courteous, and just don’t know exactly how to best manage the situation. When a driver makes a good pass, be sure to wave courteously to them on their way by. If their window is down, maybe even say thank you, as they pass. Let’s lead by example, and show how easy it is to share the road.
#5 - USE AN APP WITH CRUMBS - Everyone has someone who cares about them. So, on every ride, let them know what route you are taking by using an app with crumbs that allows them to see where you are. Road ID makes the best tracking app we have used. It tracks your route taken, current location, and has an alarm feature to sound if you have stopped moving for a chosen time frame. The info is sent by text or email to the contact of your choosing. It also has a “lock screen” feature on which you can place emergency info such as contact, allergies, etc. When you have finished your ride, you get an email with your stats, and a fun anecdote to make you day a bit brighter. Best of all… it’s FREE!!! Download it HERE
#4 - CONTRAST - Choosing the right gear for day and night is important. High visibility colors during the day, help differentiate cyclists from their surroundings on the road. This helps drivers notice you from further away, helping increase reaction time. Reflective gear, for early or late rides, is crucial for being seen in the twilight or dark hours. Most cycling dedicated gear has reflective accents built into the design or fabric itself. Be sure to look for these colors and features on your next kit purchase. The DBS #BikItOut Kits are designed with this in mind.
#3 - BIOMOTION - Science has shown that the human brain can tell when another human is moving in front of them. The pedaling motion sends that trigger. Be sure drivers can see that motion by highlighting your body’s moving parts. Shoes, socks, gloves, helmet, etc, in high visibility colors and reflective accents.
#2 - ALWAYS ON! - Front and rear, daytime visible (and flashing) lights are the fist line of awareness between cyclists and motorists. Lights on vehicles are 90% for those around you, and 10% for your own use. This is the same for a car, motorcycle, or bicycle. Daytime running lights have been on cars and motorcycles for years. If they are concerned about being seen during the day, shouldn’t we be the same. Newer LED lights can be seen up to 2km, and strobe in a fashion to be sure they attract attention. They hold a charge for up to 10 hrs as well!
AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY…
#1 - BE PROACTIVE! It is as much our responsibility to be seen, as it is the driver’s responsibility to see us. Combine all of the tips above, and know that YOU are the only one you can control. It’s not about looking cool, stylish, and fast. It’s about actual BEING (alive and capable of being) cool, stylish, and fast.
There are many other ways and accessories to help us to be safe on the road. These are a great start, though.