If everyone cycled instead of drove their car, the streets would be much safer. As that seems unlikely ever to happen, it pays to look out for yourself when cycling — because drivers may not be.
5 things you can do as a cyclist to help you stay safe
VAPOR is a handy way to remember five key measures you can take when out on your bike:
- Visible: You are the smallest vehicle on the road. People will struggle to see you. If they do not see you, they may crash into you. Try to avoid sitting in other vehicle’s blind spots. Lights and bright or reflective clothing also help.
- Assertive: If you ride too close to the curb, cars will squeeze past you, leaving you no space to move into. If you look weak, they will take advantage of your weakness. Dominate your patch of road.
- Predictable: Use confident hand signals to indicate. Stop at lights and avoid doing things like hopping up onto the sidewalk then back onto the road. Many drivers cannot remember what riding a bike is like. They assume you will do things in the same way that they do.
- Observant: Assume others are not always going to see you. That could be pedestrians stepping out in front of you or cars turning left across you. You need to be on high alert because, in almost any collision, you are the one who will come off worse.
- Responsible: When people see an inconsiderate cyclist, it fuels the anti-cycling sentiment that exists among many. It could encourage a driver to give less consideration to the next cyclists they pass.
If all road users used VAPOR, the roads would be safer for everyone. Unfortunately, they do not. Getting knocked off your bicycle and suffering a serious injury is always a possibility every time you head out.