The other day I was riding my Jordan Lake loop, when I almost got hit by a pickup truck trailing a boat. The guy passed me at full speed, cutting me off as he swerved in front of me without taking into account the size of his boat. Idiot!
I usually ride about two feet from the edge of the pavement, irregardless of the location of the painted line. This gives me room to maneuver when needed. Maybe I ought to ride further left to force cars to move over when passing me. Where do you ride? Post a comment.
I found a great website describing cycling safety tips, called “How Not to Get Hit by a Car”. Here’s Tip #1:
Collision Type #1: The Right Cross
This is one of the most common ways to get hit (or almost get hit). A car is pulling out of a side street, parking lot, or driveway on the right. Notice that there are actually two possible kinds of collisions here: Either you’re in front of the car and the car hits you, or the car pulls out in front of you and you slam into it.
How to avoid this
1. Get a headlight.
If you’re riding at night, you should absolutely use a front
headlight. It’s required by law, anyway. Even for daytime
riding, a bright white light that has a flashing mode can
make you more visible to motorists who might otherwise Right
Cross you. Look for the new LED headlights which last ten
times as long on a set of batteries as old-style lights. And
helmet- or head-mounted lights are the best, because then
you can look directly at the driver to make sure they
see your light.
2. Honk. Get a loud horn and USE IT whenever you see a car
approaching (or waiting) ahead of you and to the right. If
you don’t have a horn, then yell “Hey!” You may feel awkward
honking or yelling, but it’s better to be embarrassed than
to get hit. Incidentally, the UK requires bells on bicycles.
3. Slow down. If you can’t make eye
contact with the driver (especially at night), slow down so
much that you’re able to completely stop if you have to.
Sure, it’s inconvenient, but it beats getting hit. Doing
this has saved my life on too many occasions to
4. Ride further left.
Notice the two blue lines
“A” and “B” in the diagram. You’re probably used to riding
in “A”, very close to the curb, because you’re worried about
being hit from behind. But take a look at the car. When that
motorist is looking down the road for traffic, he’s not
looking in the bike lane or the area closest to the curb;
he’s looking in the MIDDLE of the lane, for other cars. The
farther left you are (such as in “B”), the more likely the
driver will see you. There’s an added bonus here: if the
motorist doesn’t see you and starts pulling out, you may be
able to go even FARTHER left, or may be able to speed up and
get out of the way before impact, or roll onto their hood as
they slam on their brakes. In short, it gives you some
options. Because if you stay all the way to the right and
they pull out, your only “option” may be to run right into
the driver’s side door. Using this method has saved me on
three occasions in which a motorist ran into me and I wasn’t
hurt, and in which I definitely would have slammed into the
driver’s side door had I not moved left.
Of course, there’s a tradeoff.
Riding to the far right makes you invisible to the motorists
ahead of you at intersections, but riding to the left makes
you more vulnerable to the cars behind you. Your actual lane
position may vary depending on how wide the street is, how
many cars there are, how fast and how close they pass you,
and how far you are from the next intersection. On fast
roadways with few cross streets, you’ll ride farther to the
right, and on slow roads with many cross streets, you’ll
ride farther left.