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6 Tricks to Help You Ride in Traffic

By Adam Marsal

Even though they might sound familiar, repeating them can save lives.

1. The right positioning on the road – stay off the curb

Riding too close to the curb is dangerous because of debris, slippery drain covers, and potholes. If you move to the centre of the lane, you will not only avoid unpleasant surprises on the ground, but also prevent drivers from overtaking you in places where the road is too narrow, where you run the risk of being hit by a side-view mirror or pushed off the road.

2. Be aware of things around you

Learn to observe in advance any object whose trajectory might collide with you. There are not only rails, cobblestones or puddles on the road, but also kids playing football, a girl looking at the display of her smartphone or a young lady focused on her baby in the stroller. Some of them might pose a significant risk for you. Anything suspicious should put you on alert. The doors of cars parked alongside the road is a whole another story. Watch out for people sitting in the cars who might open the door right in your way. That’s why it is advisable to keep your bike towards the middle of the lane.

Bicycle in city
Be aware of things around you. © Profimedia

3. Learn to anticipate

Moving around the city is easier if you understand what the other road users are going to do. That’s why experts say that best cyclist can drive and the best driver can cycle, so they can anticipate the intentions and needs of other people on the road. This way, you can predict in advance if the driver in the car in front of you is going to hit the brakes or make a sudden turn to avoid a pedestrian or a car on a junction.

4. Make your intentions clear

Be as predictable as you can. That will give drivers enough time to safely find their way around you. Stay consistent and do not change your direction at the very last moment. Squeezing into a narrow gap between two cars might save you seconds, but can cost you your life if something goes wrong. Keep in mind that cyclists can be easily overlooked in heavy traffic. Without big front and rear lights, you become almost invisible.

Cycling in Traffic
Make your intentions clear. © Profimedia

5. Make eye contact with others – get in touch with the drivers

First of all, drivers are people too. Sometimes we tend to see them as enemies occupying the road for themselves, but this is not the case. There are mothers and fathers behind the wheels, and even though they are likely to make some mistakes too, most of them have no particular reason to endanger you. Try to communicate with them using eye contact and let them know you are aware of them. If you want to give way to them, try to wink at them , so that they can go through the crossing without having to worry that they might blow you off the bike.

6. Stay away from trucks

Never try to overtake a truck since they are huge and have too many blind spots. Even if a lorry stands still, it can start moving instantly once the green light comes on. If a truck grinds to a halt while passing you, for example because of traffic lights, try to get in front of it and make sure that the driver can see you.