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We’ve already talked talked about 5 reasons bike commuting is great for us and for the environment.
But how can you avoid a little thing called death in the process?
It’s not that hard, really. All it takes is a little common sense and the aid of these helpful resources…
Oh yeah, all these tips and resources are good for all of your biking excursions, they’re not just specific to commuting on your bike.
One cool thing about biking is that the cycling world has several HUGE online communities that make the hobby even more fun.
MapMyRide.com is one such site. The cycling community seems to rate it, hands down, as the best tool for mapping a bike ride.
Know Where You’re Going
The MapMyRide site (and app) allows you to plan your route — utilizing Google Maps — by selecting “follow roads” or not, choosing various types of stops and waypoints, and you even have the ability to share your route with others in the MapMyRide community!
View this screenshot (click to enlarge) of the mapping screen:
In addition to the community aspects of the site and the mapping features, you can also search for routes/rides by city… for those lazy days that you don’t want to map your own!
Knowing where you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there will definitely help you stay safe by not getting lost. But what can be done to stay safe when riding in traffic, as in bike commuting?
Follow These Tips For Commuting Safely
Learn from others by utilizing the advice of bike commuting experts.
Enter CommuteByBike.com. It’s the be-all, end-all site for bike commuters, in my opinion.
This site even has a category of posts called Commuting 101 that is quintessential to those of us just beginning (or beginning to think about) bike commuting.
CommuteByBike says that the 3 most common causes for a vehicle hitting a bike are:
- Driver turns left in front of an oncoming cyclist who is going straight through an intersection.
- Driver doesn’t stop at a stop sign.
- Driver passes a cyclist and turns right, directly across their path.
Here’s some great advice from CommuteByBike’s list of essential tips for beginning cyclists:
WEAR A HELMET!!!!
Be predictable. Make eye contact. Ride on the correct side of the road, not against traffic. Look behind you before you make a turn or lane change, that lets drivers know you’re up to something. Use hand signals (not THAT one) and don’t wobble around. Don’t weave in and out of the lane when parked cars are spread out.
Take the lane. Don’t be afraid to get out in the middle of the lane in stop-and-go traffic, when changing lanes to make a left turn and to avoid being “doored.” You WILL be tempted to blow past a line of cars queued up at a stop light — but don’t. Just take your place in the middle of the lane and take your turn.
Read the rest of the post for even more essentials — like how to make sure your route is the same as the hot chicks’ in spandex. (Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.)
What are some of your favorite tips, suggestions, and tools for planning and enjoying safe bike rides and commutes?
I think every little step toward living green is an awesome one… but eco-snobbery sucks! My goal is to help newbies learn the most important steps toward living green — individually and collectively. Personally, I strive to have as little impact as possible on Planet Earth while I'm here.