I still remember the first time I was cycling on a busy road. I seem like smallest fry in the world of trucks, trailer and cars. Even the Vespa scooter seemed so much bigger than me. I did not give in to my fear and continue cycling on the road without any knowledge of traffic rules. I was riding on my Trek 1000 liked I am the king of the road. Alas, one week later, I came home with a broken arm. Some idiotic driver opened his parked car door while I was riding right beside it. The impact was so big that for a moment I thought I was superman flying into the sky. I was a much bigger idiot. I had a broken arm and a broken Trek while he only had hairline scratches on his door. Thus it is very important to know ways to cycle safely on the road. I am going to give you some pointers from my past experiences.
You should always check for the roadworthiness of your bike. Brakes are very important parts of your bicycle, never leave home with checking if they are working fine. One of my friends did not check his brakes and he landed in an ambulance with a broken arm. Please change your brake pads if they are wearing out, do not scrimp and use them until they are as thin as paper. The tension of your brakes can be fixed by just adjusting a few cables. Always keep your tires properly pumped up. A deflated tire will easily get punctured and has lesser grip on the ground.
You will encounter many obstacles while riding your shiny road bike on the busy road. You should especially look out for parked vehicles by the road side. Always cycle about one car door length away from them if possible. It is impossible to predict if anyone sitting happily in the cars is going to open door and get out. Most people do not check behind before opening their car doors. I am sure you will not enjoy crashing into the door and flying off your road bike. Keep a look out especially on busy shopping street where people are constantly getting in and out of their cars.
Wet roads are extremely hazardous to cyclists. Avoid all metal things that you see on the road. These include sewer covers, drain covers, manhole covers etc. Metal are extremely slippery when they are in contact with water. Your bike’s tires might not have enough friction to grip onto them. Above those white road signs that are painted on the road too. I have seen too many cyclists skidding on white paint on rainy day.
You are on the road, so you must obey all road traffic regulations too. Get familiarize with the traffic regulation first before you go on the road. Do not think you can get away running a red light just because you are not on a motorized vehicle. The next thing you might see could be the tunnel of light if you run a red light. Pedestrian crossings are for pedestrians. You might injure people if you cycle across a busy pedestrian crossing, so get down your bike and push it across. It is extremely dangerous to cycle against the flow of traffic. I do not understand why some people think that it is safer. Cycling against the flow of traffic will greatly reduce both you and the driver’s reaction time to avoid an accident.
You should be able to cycle safely on road if you follow these safe cycling measures. You just need to concentrate fully on the road and get well prepared for any unexpected incidents that may happen and you will not suffer a broken arm like me.
Davis is an avid cyclist who start up Cheap Used Road Bikes and Bicycles to offer great deals on road bikes.