Keep to the Right and Ride only two Abreast – Sure, take the lane if there is no safe way for a motorist to pass you, you need to avoid a pothole or you are getting into the appropriate turn or through lane. Otherwise don’t hog the road unnecessarily and play nice with the people who drive.
Signal Your Turns – Research has shown that motorists, pedestrians and other bicyclists can not read your mind. Your turn signal is not just for the benefit of others, it may help prevent you being involved in a crash. Older bicyclists, please remember to stop signaling after making a turn.
Ride with Traffic – I don’t care what your dad taught you, it’s the law. Besides motorists are not looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road when they are making turns so it is in your best interest as well.
Ride in a Straight Line and Avoid Car Doors – Slalom riding was a blast when you were a kid but skip it downtown. Just ride in a straight line past the open parking spots so motorists behind you can see you. And just know that some joker sooner or later is going to open their door into traffic a split second before you ride by them. Hitting a fixed steel object topped by glass at full speed is generally not considered a pleasant experience, it can even be a fatal one.
Make Left Turns Safety – There are two ways to make a left turn.
1.) Like a Car: signal, move into the left turn lane and turn left
2.) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far-side crosswalk, walk your bike across, merge back with traffic.
When using the second method, care should be given when merging back with traffic.
Watch for Cars Pulling Out – Most bicyclists were just riding straight on the sidewalk or sidepath before they got hit at an intersection. Motorists, sadly just are not looking for cyclists on the sidewalk. So look out for cars turning in and out of driveways and intersecting streets. And if you do bike on the sidewalk, at least travel with the flow of traffic – it increases your chances of being seen.
Ride Slowly and Yield to Pedestrians – Tables are turned when you bicycle on the sidewalk – now you become part of the problem. A bicycle hitting a pedestrian is a big deal – you can seriously injure a pedestrian. Don’t assume they hear you coming up behind them and expect they will be startled. It is common courtesy to slow down and alert pedestrians to your presence (bells or a friendly “passing on your left”). And expect kids to do unexpected things.
Mental Preparation – Prepare for your winter commute so you can determine how much to invest in your winter gear and bike.
Clothing and Accessories – Waterproof boots, hat, scarf, gloves/mittens, balaclava, lights, change of clothes, dress in layers, and warm socks.
Your Bike and Tires – Lights, fenders, bags and panniers, studded tires or fatter tires, and check brakes often
Winter Navigation – Give yourself more time, don’t be afraid to get further out onto the street, choose a route with lower traffic or slower speeds, and stay as straight as you can.