A small guide to ride a bicycle safely in the city.
Generally it is good to wear a helmet, have lights, follow the road traffic etc.
The most important thing of all is that we should avoid a collision or any accident with any vehicle on the road in the first place. It will have not much of importance if the law is on our side. Our primary concern is not to get involved in an accident.
In terms of necessary & basic safety equipment our recommendations are the following:
Some common accidents and how to prevent them from happening:
Given that usually the cyclist moves on the right side of the road one of the most common accidents is to either go right and the car hit you from behind when you turn, or turn in front of you, close you the road and fall on the car. The most important prevention is to ensure that you have be seen by the driver.
Therefore as mentioned above to get intense and pulsating lights is grabbing attention.
Move slightly more in the middle to register your presence (this applies to the slow streets and certainly not in the streets that cars are in high speed)
You re moving ahead and suddenly someone opens the door of the car in front of your way.. In order not to fall over first of all you have your mind that this can happen. Very important is to have a safe distance a little way away from the car (about 70 cm) that if someone opens the door, the door wont cut your way.. Think that even if you have time to change course may follow car behind you and this might prove even more dangerous than hitting the door. So you better keep this safe distance from the side and always have a look inside the front or rear of the cars for any movement that signals you the chance that someone might open the door. Needless to say this stands far more expected to happen from passengers or drivers of cars that have just stopped/parked.
Across the street from sidewalk to sidewalk
While doing this move can a car might turn the corner towards you. To prevent this case, we must first of all not move onto the sidewalk because anyway you can fall on a pedestrian coming out of the house or a car that exiting home parking. Then again you have to have bright lights to see you. Thirdly should the speed decrease when you have to move onto the pavement when trying to cross over from sidewalk to sidewalk.
Contary to one-way street
First of all, you have not to go in opposite direction on one way streets. Drivers do not have in their minds that any other vehicle will come in oposite direction on the road. We all have seen drivers when turning in order to enter the one-way road that they turn their heads and look back if another car comes while they are in motion (and sometimes even when they have already just entered the road they continue to look at their mirror) .. What we mean is that they might not see you approaching quickly. So, first of all do not enter oppositely is a must. It would be better to get off the bike and go from the sidewalk if you have to go somewhere in between the narrow one-way streets. In no way you can't go opposite the one way. A quarter of accidents involving bicycles have this as cause.. the movement opposed to one-way. Unfortunately enough of them are involving small children ..
The accident at the start of the traffic light
The scenario is as follows. The traffic light turns from red to green you begin cycling when the car or bus besides you starts turning on you and hit you. The solution is as follows:
It is best to not stand exactly at the side of the car / truck because it is very likely that they won't see you, especially the truck which is tall and has a greater blind spot area. Additionaly the driver of the vehicle may have turn the change direction flash light when you're already beside him and you might not notice at all that he is going to change course. It is best to stand back, in front of the second car, and have a small safe distance from the vehicle in front, especially if it is uphill since the vehicle might go back slightly when it starts. . When lit green to stay behind the first and second front by up to cross the intersection.
Also have in mind that the car in front of you might at any time turn right for any reason; there may be a gas station, a parking lot, a parking space.. Here an important observation. An empty parking lot in front of you might be at the time the “holly graal” for the driver of a car that may make dangerous manouver. He/she can stop abruptly and then put parking alarms (if he/she put them at all). Then when he/she starts the reverse course in order to park you might stand at "blind" spot for him and then the thing can get even uglier ..
Conclusion: Do not pass from the right BIG VEHICLES. Not keep moving or standing exactly on the parallel with no vehicle. Expect the unexpected. IF NEEDED SHOUT ON HIM in order to let him know you are there.
Coalition from behind
It is the greatest fear of most cyclists. Fall upon you a car or a motorcycle. What should we do:
Although we do not have statistics for Greece but for the United Kingdom estimated that each year are involved in fatal accident 10 to 15 cyclists when approximately 200 people are killed simply when the fall down while walking. Certainly those who walk are many more but simply shows that there is proof (at least) that cycling is not more dangerous than simply walking.
But be careful. Among the following vehicles Bus-Truck-Car-Motorcycle and Bicycle, the latest is the weakest in terms of passive safety. So if you use your bicycle as a means of transportation while you rejoice all the positives (the feeling of freedom, tranquility, that we do not getstuck in the traffic jam, that we simultaneously are working out - and all other things that creates the bike culture anyone can find more and more positives) but on the other hand we have to face bicycle as a moving vehicle on a public road, we have to follow road safety rules and be careful; first of all we owe this to ourselves.
Important: Maybe nothing of all of the above have happened to you, but these are threats that exist in everyday cycling. So you have to keep alert for any dangerous situations that might evolve in your everyday routes.
Closing this everyday city-cycling-safety-guide we would like to wish you a happy & safe and calm cycling around town accompanied by your camera .. because while cycling you see your city in a different and positive perspective and you discover city beauties everyday.
These are only tips on how you can avoid the collision with a vehicle and cycling with more safety. It does not mean that if you follow them you will completely eliminate risks but certainly you will reduce them. The primary responsibility to bike safety lies on one person. Yourself! (It is most likely that there are other practical tips that we have not thought of. So it will be good to share our experiences with other cyclists and other motorists in order to commute with as much security as possible)
In preparing this article we used the following sources: