Cycling may be the easiest way to get around, especially when you intend to do a quick errand nearby. As a bike rider, you would have to share roads with other road users, posing threats to you yourself and others as well.
Cycling in places where there are lots of cars and traffic can be very dangerous, especially when you are stuck in a blind spot of vehicles. You see them, doesn’t mean they see you. Even making hand gestures to take turns or even ringing your bike bell, car drivers wouldn’t be able to see you when you are in their blind spot. Bicycling safely can help you to feel more comfortable, not needing to worry about being in a vehicle blind spot. Here are some tips on how you can avoid vehicle blind spot when on the road.
Should you ride with or against traffic?
This question has been asked repeatedly time and again. The only thing that keeps you safe on the road is that you are visible to the traffic. You should never ride against traffic, as drivers would not look at you when they intend to enter or leave an intersection and driveways, making you a blind spot for them. Once they see the road is clear on the other side, they will leave the intersection, not being able to sense your presence coming from the opposite direction, resulting in either you crashing to the car, or the other way around.
Riding against traffic also causes side slam. Meaning that you get hit from the side or having no time to brake and hit the car instead. When you pass cars parked at the sides, be sure to observe passengers or the driver opening car doors. They may not acknowledge you coming from the other direction and open doors just as you ride beside them. Slamming to car doors may do you more damage than you damage them. Car passengers will also be risked to be hit by you. Therefore, ride with the traffic as people would notice you sooner.
Also, if you cycle at night and against the traffic, you will be blinded by headlights, leading you to swerve and lose balance, ending up in an accident. However, riding with the traffic are easier to handle as you’ll only be facing dimmer red brake lights. By the way, night cycling is safer if you wear something brighter like a reflective vest or install lights to your bike.
When you stop at a red light, never stop beside a car, that’s where you are more prone to be in a blind spot of cars. Be it a small car or even a truck, simply stop behind the car, to where the driver can see you through the rear mirror, or right beside the side mirror of the vehicle.
From the first picture below, red markings A, B and C are safe area to where you should be stopping when there is a red light. Your presence will surely be acknowledged by drivers either in front or behind you. Vehicles behind the car marked with a blue ‘1’ will also notice you even when you stop at point B. therefore, you should know where you should position yourself when it comes to a red light.
Same goes for when you are riding beside a moving vehicle. Be sure that you know the blind spots of cars and especially long vehicles, such as trucks and container trailers. The second and third pictures below show the blind spots of common cars and trucks. Be sure to never ride beside cars, starting from the side mirror all the way back to the rear brake lights. If you happen to be in the blind spot of cars, you won’t be able to see their signals when they want to make a turn. Not knowing you are there, some drivers will turn suddenly, leaving you no time to brake and collide to the car.
As for trucks and trailers, never stray in front nor the back of these huge vehicles. Since the drivers are seated at a higher seat than normal cars, they wouldn’t be able to notice you even when you ride just beside the passenger seat. Just keep in mind to stay further away from trucks and trailers.
Better safe than sorry, and better late than never.
You can check out the video below to know how dangerous it is to ride beside a trailer.