Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Safe Cycling Tip #3

Tip #3: Consider the left side of the right line

Huh? I was trying to come up with a catch title so forgive me. The idea of this tip is to consider the situation when deciding to ride on the left or right side of the right (often white) line on a road. I see cyclists constantly hugging the edge of the road and I don't believe this is always a good idea. I think they are afraid of getting hit from behind. In reality, the chances of this are small. You are much more likely to hit a car pulling out of a driveway, and the consequences of that could be devastating.

So, if I'm going down a hill with any reasonable speed I often pull to the left of the line and actually in to the lane. If doing this creates a situation where people can't pass me safely I often pull right into the middle of the line and establish my position in traffic. While going down a hill you'll often be able to go fast enough so people don't get too pissed at you. I do this so I won't smack into the side of a car at 30 mph if someone pulls out of a driveway and it has paid off.

On the flip side, when I'm climbing a hill I will often be on the right side of the line or even on the sidewalk if the road isn't safe enough. My reasoning here is that I'm going so slow I will be able to react to people pulling in and out of driveways.

So there ya go.. enjoy and be safe.


At 12:11 PM, Blogger Jim Carson said...

I use a similar technique when coming down 56th street near Albertson's because people coming out fo that parking lot don't look left as much as they should.

Also in Issaquah-Pine Lake, where the shoulder disappears, I start ekeing over to the left about 50 yards before it actually cuts off, giving the cars behind me some time to adjust. There seems to be a lot of safety in predictability.


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