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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 5 reasons to claim the lane (and why it's safer) [Commute by Bike]


claimthelane.jpg

Here are the top two least safe places to ride:

  • Sidewalk – While the odds of you getting hit from behind diminish greatly, there are other dangers that come into play.
    • Drivers are not looking for fast moving objects on the sidewalks, so when you come to a cross street there is a good chance you’ll get hit by a turning car.
    • Sidewalks are available for pedestrians and, in many states, it’s illegal for bicycles to ride on them.
    • You are forced to (and should) go extremely slow. Besides dealing with turning cars and pedestrians, you are riding on surfaces that are not maintained for traffic and you will often have other obstacles to deal with.
  • The extreme right side of the road – This is the most dangerous place you can ride. You are risking two dangers:
    • Cars will repeatedly try to squeeze by you in the same lane and will almost always come very close to you which, obviously, increases your chance of getting hit.
    • The Peek-a-boo bike. Picture two cars approaching. The second car is following closely to the first. As the first car moves to miss you, it is seen by the second car as merely drifting in the lane since the car isn’t moving that much out of the way. The second car doesn’t realize you are in the road until it is too late.
Because of the above dangers–and contrary to many people’s “common sense”–the best thing for a bike commuter to do is claim the lane. I ride at least a third of the way into the lane and, around curves, I roll right down the middle.

1 comments:

Jamie Fellrath said...

There was a letter in the newspaper the other day from an "experienced cyclist" who was exhorting bike commuters to stay as far to the right as POSSIBLE because "it's the safest."

And then he went on to say that in his 17 years of cycling, he's only had three accidents - one of them being sideswiped. Um... cause and effect, anyone?

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