Quandary weighs in on the definition of good road biking manners
What are Good road biking manners?
Road biking can be a little tricky. While mountain bikers have to figure out who has the right-of-way between themselves, a hiker and a horse, road bikers have some even bigger competition. It is one thing to be wrong when you are flying down a mountain approaching a terrified walker, but something completely different to be wrong when you’re staring at the grill of a Chevy Suburban.
An easy rule to follow is the 3-2-1 courtesy code. This code says that you should leave 3 feet of distance between yourself and an automobile when passing. You can ride two wide on the road if it’s clear, and ride single file to allow passing. Think of it this way: Follow a bicyclist as if it was your kid ahead of you, and treat cars as if they were an ambulance with your loved ones. Now depending on how snotty your kids are this might not be the best advice, but basically always error on the side of caution. If a bicyclist seems to not know the rules of the road, give them a little extra space and be even more alert if attempting to pass. Just because someone else was wrong, doesn’t mean you’re going to feel any better when you hit him/her.
To avoid an accident there are some simple ways to adjust your gear and your technique to help ensure you make it home safely. First off, wear a headlamp. At night a headlamp is required by law, but even during the day it can be a good way to give yourself a little extra visibility. The same can be said for wearing bright colors. You may have thought the yellow jersey was just for Tour de France champions, but a little fashion sense can go a long way on Summit’s roads.
If you are riding along and a car next to you seems dazed and confused, just slow down. This will give you more time to react if there is a problem, and will give the driver more space so you don’t get caught in any crazy antics. One tip that might counter your intuition a little is to ride further left on the road. While this does mean you are closer to traffic, it also means you are directly in a driver’s line of sight. A little extra space between you and the curb can make you that much more visible, but that doesn’t mean you should ride in the middle of the road. At the end of the day traffic lanes are for motor vehicles, not bikes. Except in cases where there is no bike lane, like on Swan Mountain. In the case of Swan Mountain there is a biking lane apart from the road leading from the high school to Sapphire Point, however this lane isn’t big enough for two-way traffic. If you find yourself cruising up towards Sapphire Point use the bike lane, but if you are on the downhill you will still need to use a traffic lane.
Another couple big rules are to always wear a helmet and keep some kind of identification on you at all times. If you do get in an accident, these two things could make all the difference. For more information on bike safety visit http://www.summitbiking.org.
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