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“How to NOT get hit by cars”

August 26, 2011

Here is a fantastic article (discovered by Katie Smith) on how to ride smart and savvy and not just ride by the book. There are a few tips here that show examples of a cyclist having to bend the rules of the law in order to avoid getting hit by a car in certain and very specific situations. We of The Jacksonville Bicycle Coalition must state that we do not necessarily endorse breaking the law. We DO however endorse good sense. And staying alive. Knowmsayin’?

“This page shows you real ways you can get hit and real ways to avoid them. This is a far cry from normal bicycle safety guides, which usually tell you little more than to wear your helmet and to follow the law.  But consider this for a moment: Wearing a helmet will do absolutely nothing to prevent you from getting hit by a car.  Sure, helmets might help you if you get hit, but your #1 goal should be to avoid getting hit in the first place.  Plenty of cyclists are killed by cars even though they were wearing helmets.  Ironically, if they had ridden without helmets, yet followed the advice on this page, they might still be alive today.  Don’t fall for the myth that wearing a helmet is the first and last word in biking safety.  In truth, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  It’s better to not get hit. That’s what real bicycle safety is about.

TIP: The Uninsured Motorist clause on your auto insurance may pay if you’re hit & runned while bicycling. Check your policy.

The next most common bike safety advice after “wear a helmet” is “follow the law,” but most people are already aware that it’s stupid to race through a red light when there’s cross traffic.  So the “follow the law” advice isn’t that helpful because it’s too obvious.  What you’ll find here are several scenarios that maybe aren’t that obvious.

The other problem with the “follow the law” message is that people may think that’s all they need to do.  But following the law is not enough to keep you safe, not by a long shot.  Here’s an example: The law tells you to ride as far to the right as is practicable.  But if you ride too far to the right, someone exiting a parked car could open their door right in front of you, and you’ll be less visible to motorists pulling out of driveways and parking lots, and motorists coming from behind may pass you way too closely in the same lane because you didn’t make them change lanes.  In each of these cases you were following the law, but could still have been hit.  This page doesn’t focus on the law, it focuses on how to not get hit by cars.  Now let’s see how to avoid getting hit…”

Click here to read the entire article with great graphic examples for us visual folks:

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