Bike commuting - how to be and feel safer?
April 29, 2010 6:38 PM Subscribe
Bike commuting filter - how to stay safe and not worry too much?
posted by Mid to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (36 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I've been commuting by bike for about 2.5 years, 5 miles per way, 2-3 times per week except when it is very cold.
Lately, though, I've been worrying more about safety more than I did before. Somehow, with the weather warming up, it seems less safe out there. People are driving more crazy and there are more bikes to worry about too. There are way more potential "dooring" hazards as people are jumping in and out of cars for bars and restaurants and such. Also - there are more aggressive people on bikes out there and I tend to get more aggressive in my riding style when people around me are doing the same; not smart, I know.
Today, I went over my handlebars -- it was completely my fault. I was coming up along a line of stopped cars at a light and I was all the way to the right in the bike lane. There was a car at the very front of the line with a right signal on that was blocking my way forward. I should have stayed behind him, but instead I hopped the curb, went around him on the sidewalk, and then tried to hop down. I went right over the handlebars into the street. Somehow, I don't have a scratch on me -- I picked up the bike and rode away feeling like an idiot.
Anyway -- that experience, and a general worry about safety that has been growing, is making me really start to worry about whether this whole bike commuting this is just too dangerous, particularly for someone with kids and all that. I am sure part of it is that I am not doing my best to ride safely and cautiously, but I'm not sure that I can trust myself to do that every day -- it's fun to go real fast!
I suppose what I'm looking for is this:
1. What do you do to stay safe and feel safe while riding on city streets?
2. Do you have any strategies for having a little patience and waiting an extra minute or whatever behind a slow car, rather than trying to dodge around it or something else risky or stupid? I find that most of my "close calls" come from situations where I should have just stopped and waited a minute for a car or a light or whatever -- but I'm so into the "groove" of flying down the street that I really hate to stop and wait.