Being too scared to cycle on the road could work against you, especially in areas where there is a lot of traffic.
Whether you are a novice or experienced cyclist, should you be worried about your safety? Sharing the road with other larger vehicles can be a challenge, but you could enhance your safety by acting responsibly.
While local statistics show that the number of bicycle accidents has been declining during the last few years, fatal accidents involving cyclists are still on the rise.
For that reason, we grouped five dangerous cycling situations that scare people the most, along with tips on how to handle each one of them.
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Sharing the road with buses
In most cases, cyclists are advised to use their own designated lane for their own safety. You may be one of those cyclists who gets nervous about those buses who load and unload passengers right in your lane.
Do not worry! There are still some basic techniques you could put in practice to navigate between buses in a safe mode.
Start by riding your bike in the middle of the road without being too close to the curb or the parked vehicles around you.
This position will help you be more visible to other larger vehicles and avoid being cut off by other vehicles – say, school buses – that keep making continuous stops.
If you notice a parked bus ahead of you, start moving out with anticipation. You could make a difference by signaling your intentions to move by communicating with the bus driver and other road users around you.
Dealing with left-turning vehicles
Be cautious when cycling closely to other vehicles that are planning to make a left turn, especially if you are not that experienced.
A safe cyclist rather moves with the flow of traffic than trying to beat the red light and other passing vehicles.
Use your common sense when seeing other vehicles planning to make a left turn. Ride behind them, do not undertake, nor make unexpected maneuvers until it is safe to do so.
Sometimes it is better just to wait a few seconds to let larger vehicles turn and follow your own path.
Handling busy intersections
If you freak out every time you approach an intersection, then let us help you handle them like a pro.
Just for the records, there is nothing wrong with hopping off your bike and crossing the intersection by foot, especially when you are not 100% confident about your riding skills.
For the most part, you need to be assertive, aware of your surroundings, and cautious when communicating with other road users.
If you are planning to make a turn at an intersection, be prepared to signal your intentions to turn in advance and be always visible.
Are you scared of accelerating when riding downhill? Sharing the roads with pedestrians and other vehicles may make you feel less confident about it but you must be in control.
For example, keeping a good posture makes a difference. Keep your backside on the seat with your feet on the pedals at a 3 and 9 o’clock angle. Hold the bars tightly and keep your arms straight.
Adjust your speed according to your needs. Make sure you feel comfortable with the speed, otherwise press on the brakes gently.
A safe practice is to keep a constant and steady braking to handle the descend smoothly.
Changing lanes carefully
Switching lanes can be a challenge, mostly if you are not used to ride on busy roads.
If you must switch lanes, pay attention to your surroundings, use your arm to signal your intentions to change lanes, and proceed cautiously.
You could practice this method by riding on empty roads until you gain enough confidence to put it on practice when required.
One great advice is to avoid making last minute maneuvers as they could increase your chances of having an accident.