Cycling can be one of the most rewarding, yet most dangerous activities. There are many people who rely on their bicycles to get them to and from places, like work. People also just enjoy cycling on a sunny afternoon. Whether you fit into either of these categories or somewhere in between, there are five hazards that all cyclist should be aware of and be careful to avoid.
As we know, intersections were made with cars in mind and not bicycles. Busy intersections for a bicyclist are not always avoidable and can prove to be hazardous. A car may be making a right turn without looking and end up turning right into a cyclist or turning directly in front of their path. To stay safe when crossing intersections, you should first always slow your speed.
It is not recommended that cyclist ride on the sidewalks. This can put the rider and pedestrians at risk of being injured. Typically, sidewalks do not have the range of sight that a roadway has. So cyclists will have a difficult, and perhaps dangerous, time attempting to cross intersections or make turns. A car is also less likely to see a cyclist attempting to cross the street from a sidewalk because their line of sight may be blocked by trees or even parked cars. The best thing would be to avoid riding on the sidewalks altogether, unless they are specific cycling sidewalks.
- Sudden Cars and Car Doors
Cars that appear out of nowhere can be very dangerous for a cyclist and can cause collisions between the cyclist and the car. These collisions occur most when a car makes a turn coming blindly from the right out of places such as hidden driveways, parking lots, or side streets.
Collisions can also occur between a cyclist and a car door. At times drivers are not paying close enough attention to when they are opening up their car doors, so they are flung open and a cyclist may ride right into that door. Dolman Law Group makes mention that some of the injuries a cyclist can obtain from an accident with a car or car door include broken bones, damage to the spine, damage to internal organs, brain trauma, and even sometimes death.
- Weather Hazards
Snow and ice are the greatest weather hazard that a cyclist can face. The roads become extremely difficult to ride through. It can get even worse if a layer of ice forms under a layer of snow. This ice layer may not be initially obvious to the cyclist, which makes this weather condition all the more dangerous. Another weather hazard that cyclists need to be prepared for is the rain. Rain can cause low visibility and also the roads will become slick.
It is always best to try to avoid potholes and broken payment when you can. However, this may not always be an option, because the car lane may be busy so you cannot swerve into that lane or you may be riding next to someone. If you find yourself in one of these situations, the best way to approach a pothole is by bunny hopping over the hole. In order to do this, you will want to even out your pedals and slight life off of your seat. Then right before you get to the pothole, lightly pull back on the handlebars to lift the bicycle over the pothole.
Cycling may be a fun, but necessary part of your life and it will continue to be a safe ride if you are aware of these hazards and how to potentially avoid them. By keeping your eyes open to these hazards, you can continue to cycle safely.