Riding with traffic can be frightening at times, especially if you aren’t sure of the best way to do it. The reason so many cyclists are afraid to ride with traffic is because there is a lot of risk involved. Everyone is too unpredictable, and a bicycle accident could happen at any moment.
Traffic is scary because there isn’t enough clear communication between drivers and cyclists. Ambiguous hand motions or mumbled instructions lead to accidents all the time. An important bicycle safety skill you should certainly learn is how to communicate with drivers.
How to Communicate with Drivers
Don’t be afraid to exaggerate your hand motions and eye contact. Many riders prefer not to draw attention to themselves, but when you’re riding through traffic, shy is the last thing you want to be. Make sure that every driver around you fully understands what you want to do and where you want to go. The best way to do that is to exaggerate motions. Stare at a driver until you are 100 percent cure they see you, then signal with a strong arm to show you’re turning.
Make yourself heard. Traffic is loud. With all the running engines and cars honking, it’s a wonder anyone ever gets heard, but you have to make yourself louder than the traffic. Shout loudly in an emergency to make someone stop. You can shop around for a horn, not a bell, but in many cases, shouting is more effective.
Many people believe that communicating is all about being seen and heard, but they’re only half right. The other half of communicating is listening, and it’s just as important. As much as you want to be listening to that new Beyoncé album, wait until you are safely out of traffic. If you can’t hear what’s going on around you, you may be limiting your ability to react to an impending accident.
San Diego bicycle accident attorney Joshua Bonnici is an avid cyclist and works hard to fight on behalf of other cyclists like himself.