If there’s one thing we need to learn from Amsterdam – aka the bicycle capital of the world, that is, we need to follow its precedent. Ever since the Dutch Capital has turned a haven for cyclists, the number of traffic deaths have decreased, greenhouses gas emissions have reduced, and the city has become a model to follow.
However, unless your city doesn’t follow the Amsterdam model, you’ll have to bear a lot while dealing with the urban traffic. For that, we would provide you some tips to circumvent the unique situations faced by most cyclists in normal urban rides.
Tip # 1: How to deal with traffic congestion
When caught in a traffic jam, most cyclists – due to the instincts developed from their car riding days, apply the brakes and inhale the emissions of motor vehicles. You don’t need to do it.
Firstly, if you’re caught in a traffic jam, look for an open passing lane. In the majority of metropolises of the world, there is one. If you find it, use that lane instead of zigzagging between cars. However, if the streets are as packed as the road, slowly thread between the cars. Remember, any car door could open at any instant.
Secondly, when there isn’t a complete road jam, look for the gaps which exist from the bumper of one car to the other. However, before you move into that gap with your bike, watch out as car drivers might also be looking for the same spot.
Tip # 2: Try to avoid Sidewalks
Of the majority of drivers we know, they think that driving on the sidewalks is safe as it creates a physical distance between the bikes and cars. However, in actuality, this isn’t what you should do. In fact, unless you are left with no choice, try keeping your bike on the road.
For, if you’re driving on the sidewalks, there might be trees, shop doors, and buildings serving as blind spots. More importantly, there are pedestrians who could take sidestep. Also, a child might take a run from behind his parents and come suddenly in front of the bike. Thus, if you’re left with no choice, drive extremely carefully and slowly on the sidewalks.
Tip # 3: It isn’t obligatory on you to use Bike lanes
Apart from the handful of metropolises, bike lanes could be thin, hazardous, and bumpy. Thus, unless you aren’t taking it for a shortcut – or there is a traffic jam on the road, you can avoid bike lanes. However, you need to be competent to drive in between the cyclists.
Tip # 4: How to ride around large vehicles
If you’ve driven a car, you will know that there is a blind spot in the side mirror of every vehicle. Whether it’s a vehicle or person, car riders could do nothing for this blind spot. This blind spot exists close to the back side door. Hence, if you’re a cyclist, try to stay away from this blind spot.
However, it is inevitable that you would find yourself in the same spot at some time in the future. When you’re in that situation, apply the brakes and come behind the vehicle. This would shift you in the eyesight of the car driver. Consequently, he would be more careful.
Tip # 5: Earn Respect
As cyclists, we need to earn respect from the drivers of motor vehicles. For example, try driving in lanes in such a manner that the driver could pass you without fear.