Summer Riding Tips
By Meg Ausen
Safety Tips for Busy Summer Streets
Summer is here and the streets are swelling. It can sometimes seem like you’re in a video game on your commute, dodging obstacles left and right. Much of the increased foot and bike traffic comes from the amount of tourists and visitors out enjoying the city. While pretty basic, WE can all use a reminder of the following tips that will help you not only when you’re pedaling your way through the 5 boroughs, but they will also come in handy when traveling (and biking) in new surroundings yourself where it’s easy to become distracted or caught off guard.
By law it is legal to ride with one earphone in your ear in New York City. However, it’s much safer to avoid the distraction altogether and ride without any earphones. While the law is loose on personal audio devices, remember that they can be extremely distracting not only for other cyclists but also for pedestrians around you.
Use hand signals
Hand signals are integral for safely signaling to others what your next move is going to be. Need a refresher on what the signals are? See our tips on that here. If you do not feel comfortable taking your hands off of your handlebars, do not hesitate to announce yourself with an ‘on your left’ or other audible signal so that people know you are in a space they might otherwise try to occupy.
Survey your surroundings
When making drastic moves, particularly turning corners, make sure to look both left and right several times beforehand. And then look again. Both cars and pedestrians can sneak up out of nowhere – even on red lights it is courteous to always give pedestrians the right of way.
Pull over when you need to stop
If you need to pull over for whatever reason, make a conscious decision about warning those surrounding you that you are pulling over with plenty of time for people to move safely around you if necessary. Try to stay out of the way of traffic as best as possible and keep yourself out of danger. Do you need to take a phone call or send a text message? It’s ALWAYS safer to do so while stopped and in a safe spot.
Be as predictable as possible
Follow basic traffic laws when riding, whether you are on the street or in a protected bike lane. Keep right and pass left. Avoid weaving in and out of the path of other cyclists or in empty parking space – unpredictability often times works to our disadvantage. Do not be afraid to take a lane to make yourself visible – it is your right!
If you have any tips to share, join us in the conversation at the Female Bike Forum on Facebook!