Cycling on a public road can be a harrowing experience even if you are a seasoned cyclist. This is magnified when your commute happens on a busy road.
All we are really after, is an uneventful commute to and from our destination. In an ideal world, we'd all play nicely with one another, with drivers looking out for cyclists and giving them the appropriate space they need to ride safely, and cyclists having the courtesy to make sure they are not holding up traffic.
But alas, we do not live in this fantasy. Impatient drivers and irresponsible cyclists are aplenty, and it can sometimes be very vexing for both ends - just take a quick look at the various traffic vigilante pages on social media.
Here are some of the things that we believe that cyclists can do to ensure a more pleasant experience!
Put Your Phone Down
Yes, we understand the allure of scrolling through Instagram to see what your friends are doing, but cycling is not the time to scroll through your favorite apps. To put it bluntly, using your mobile phone while cycling on the road is a one-way ticket to becoming a statistic on the news.
This is probably the reason why our regulatory bodies have put in place stiff penalties to deter riders from committing the offence. Hand-held mobile devices can serve as a distraction, and is exacerbated by having only one hand on the handlebars, increasing the risk of harm to pedestrians, motorists, and most importantly yourself.
You'll be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, or a prison sentence of up to three months if caught. Phone usage is restricted to navigational purposes only, and devices must be mounted, or operated in a hands-free manner.
When cycling in a group, try and keep to a single-file to minimise disruption to vehicular traffic flow. Two cyclists riding abreast will occupy a significant portion of the lane, meaning that drivers will have to stray into the adjacent lane to make room.
If you want to live out your Tour De France fantasies, and insist on cycling side-by-side, do note that you'll be liable to a $150 fine. You can only do so without the risk of prosecution when cycling on roads that are not single lane, nor have a dedicated bus lane.
Do also keep to the left side of the road as much as is practically possible.
(Photo Credit: BoogieBikes)
You are required, by law, to signal your intention, even on a bicycle. You'd have come across some of this during your BTT, but in case you need a refresher:
Intention to turn left: Left arm out.
Intention to turn right: Right-arm out, or left arm up at a 90-degree angle.
Intention to stop: Left arm out, and forearm straight down.
Intention to slow down: Left arm in a downward angle, moving up and down.
Ensuring the people around you know your intended path of travel will help others provision the necessary space and reaction time so everyone stays safe!
We understand that night cycling can be very therapeutic - imagine experiencing the cool breeze, inky blackness of the night skies, broken up only by the illumination provided by the street lights. But there are dangers to cycling at night, which is why the law requires that you have the correct lights installed on the front and back of your bicycle.
Failing to do so will result in being penalised up to $1,000. To be very clear as well, simply slapping on a few “disco” lights is not the way to go either. Legally, you are only allowed to have white lights in the front and red lights at the rear, and both lights must be visible from a distance.
This is essential for determining which direction cyclists come from and is a good indicator for drivers as well.
Practicing Road Courtesy
Roads are meant to be shared by pedestrians, cyclists and users of motor vehicles. Being more considerate to one another is the best way to practice road courtesy and to show your fellow road users some empathy. You can do so by giving one another the appropriate space, and if you are feeling generous, even going beyong and acknowledging other road users with a smile, wave or a 'thank you' when others are being considerate.
It may seem insignificant, but you may be the reason why someone's day has been made!
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