Following rules is the best way to stay safe when cycling. Most bicycle etiquette is simple enough that you can pick them up if you cycle often enough. You can learn from other people on bikes in Melbourne who follow the rules. Some are not as obvious so it would be great if you learn some of the key rules.
If cars have turn signals, bikes have hand signals. It is vital to signal to the cars and other cyclists around you what you intend to do. People will be able to react according to your signal. You can have the space you need to do things like turning and stopping. It will prevent you from getting run over or facing an accident.
Everyone else on the road has their focus on what they are doing and where they are going. Subtle cues and little gestures will not get their attention. You have to use big, obvious hand signals to let people know your intentions well in advance.
There are three major hand signals you should know before you go cycling.
- Right turn;
- Left turn; and
Never assume that a car or fellow cyclist noticed you already. It is always safer to be clear about your intentions.
Always ride in the same direction as traffic. The cars on the road should be coming up behind you on the left and not towards you. It is crucial to be part of the flow of traffic. You ensure you move along with everyone else’s expectation on the road.
Some people believe that pedestrians and cyclists are more visible when facing traffic. But, studies show otherwise. It causes far more collisions than following along with the traffic flow. Moving opposite the flow will surprise or confuse someone not expecting to see you. It can lead to accidents and collisions.
Obeying traffic signs is essential in keeping you and everyone around you safe. You have to stop at stop signs. Do not make a left turn from a right lane. Obeying all these rules will make sure others can predict your actions. It lessens the risk of accidents. Merge from the right side into an appropriate left-hand turn lane if you need to make a left-hand turn. Do not weave across the road or cycle in a crosswalk. Always obey traffic lights or stop signs. Wait for your turn if there are other cars or bikes present before you make your move.
Being on a bike makes you more nimble and you can squeeze yourself in tight situations. But doing this will risk not only your safety but the safety of those around you. Aside from following all the traffic rules, you have to stay alert and make eye contact. Etiquette is not only about being nice, it is also about staying safe.