Riding safely, safety equipment, and safe places to ride.

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64
votes
31answers
9k views

How do I deal with a dog chasing me when I'm touring?

Once I was riding my road bike down a rural road. I heard barking over my shoulder and saw two dobermans running toward me. I can't think of a time in my life that I felt more endangered. I reacted ...
55
votes
12answers
2k views

Is pollution a problem in urban cycling?

I usually ride a bicycle in Barcelona. I'm concerned about pollution and I take an anti-pollution mask. Of course, some people scream because they confuse me with Hannibal Lecter but currently that's ...
47
votes
5answers
4k views

Safety data: Which is safer, head/tail lights which blink or emit a steady beam?

My head and tail lights can be set to blink or emit a steady beam of light. I usually set my rear (red) light to blink, because I believe it makes me more visible at night. My friend argues that it ...
45
votes
21answers
6k views

Is listening to music dangerous while cycling? [closed]

This wouldn't apply to riding technical trails or anything challenging, but are there any reasons to eschew the tunes while riding? Noise canceling earbuds would probably be hazardous to myself and ...
41
votes
9answers
2k views

Protocol for downhill cyclist overtaking a car?

Last weekend, I was driving (yes in a car, something I rarely do) down a fairly steep and very curvy mountain road (thus with very poor sight lines/visibility ahead) when I noticed a cyclist in my ...
41
votes
8answers
3k views

When or how often should I replace my bike helmet?

I’ve fallen a couple times, but no serious damage is visible on the helmet except for a couple divots here and there. Should I consistently be replacing my helmet after a certain amount of time? ...
40
votes
8answers
5k views

Why is it safer to bike with traffic, instead of facing oncoming cars?

There has been an ongoing debate in my area's local newspaper, regarding biking with vs. against the flow of traffic. A recent incident in which a cyclist was hit from behind, and later died of his ...
38
votes
25answers
4k views

How can I make my bike (and myself) visible at night?

By winter I will be commuting on my bike at night. How can I make my bike as visible as possible to all car drivers?
34
votes
9answers
4k views

Why don't cyclists wear all-encompassing motorcycle-style helmets?

It is possible to get a helmet that covers your entire head and face, and in theory would protect you against more kinds of falls. In particular, Why don't bicyclists wear them, and why do ...
32
votes
14answers
5k views

Safest way to slow down a bike quickly if both sets of brakes fail

This may sound like a crazy question, however today in the wet my rear brakes decided to stop working effectively. It has been pouring rain here which makes the problem more apparent. I managed to ...
29
votes
2answers
700 views

Does a helmet-mounted light affect the safe functionality of the helmet?

I am currently testing a bunch of lights for my (slowly) upcoming head lights review. Several of the lights can be mounted to a helmet using a mounting strap, like this: I'm wondering if having a ...
28
votes
10answers
1k views

What is the proper etiquette for overtaking a horse?

What are the general rules when encountering a mounted rider (on a horse) on a trail? I understand if we are approaching each other I would dismount, move to the side of the trail and allow them to ...
28
votes
8answers
716 views

How can I be visible in the dark when I'm signalling a turn?

My bike and I are fairly visible at night--white light in front, red light in the back, bright yellow fenders, reflective tabs and a light on my helmet. I use hand signals to alert motorists when I'm ...
23
votes
6answers
543 views

What is a good camera arrangement for city riding?

I would like to have continuous camera coverage while commuting on city streets, in order to have evidence in any collision. I have been experimenting with an ATC3K mounted on the pannier rack, ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Do I really need to replace my helmet every 2-3 years if it hasn't been in a crash?

OK, I know from the top answer here: When or how often should I replace my bike helmet?, that I should buy a new helmet every 2-3 years, even if it hasn't been in a crash and shows no signs of damage. ...
20
votes
11answers
719 views

Safety guidelines for cycling in traffic

Please post your safety tips for cycling/commuting that should help you get to your destination place in one piece. I came across a nice printed guideline a few years ago when working as courier, it ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Which states or countries have stop-sign-as-yield laws for bicyclists (Idaho stop law)?

In Idaho (PDF), bicyclists are allowed to treat stop signs as yields, and red lights as stop signs (essentially; see the actual law for details). This seems like a very reasonable approach, balancing ...
19
votes
8answers
2k views

Arguments for/against bike lanes?

What are the arguments for and against bike lanes? Can anyone summarize the best reasons they're good for and bad for cyclists and automobile drivers? For example, Are there some environments ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

What are some alternatives to fruitlessly ringing my bell at a motorist?

I doubt that motor-vehicle drivers can hear the "ding" sound that a bicycle bell makes. What are some better alternatives?
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Is fluorescent clothing effective?

I read recently that fluorescent clothing was not effective at all at night. If this is the case, how effective is it during the day, and should I stop buying tops that are fluorescent to use on my ...
18
votes
10answers
7k views

Using a ski helmet for winter biking

I am cuirious if anyone uses a skiing helmet for winter biking? Would this be safe? Are skiing helmets designed to protect you from the same kind of acidents that you would have on a bike? I am ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

How should a bicycle helmet fit?

I see enough folks wearing helmets in such a manner that they might as well not be. What is the proper way to fit & wear a bicycle helmet?
18
votes
7answers
1k views

Bicycling and a Right Turn Only Lane?

When commuting with a bike I usually stick to the right lane (I am based in the USA). When approaching a right turn only lane while biking, should I stay in the turn lane and signal to the car behind ...
17
votes
8answers
9k views

Safety vests: Yellow vs. Orange?

What are the factors that should affect whether my visibility will be higher with a "high visibility Yellow" vs. a "high visibility Orange" vest or jacket? It seems too simplistic to simply say ...
17
votes
11answers
336 views

Safely overtaking pedestrians

When riding on bike paths or mixed-use paths, there are usually pedestrians walking along them as well. Pedestrians tend to be somewhat unpredictable; they may suddenly turn around or step to the ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

What should I look for when buying a used bicycle?

I'm moving to a city where I can ride a bicycle to the grocery store, coffee shop etc. I want to purchase a decent used bicycle. I'm leaning towards a bike that's in between a "10-speed" or road-bike ...
16
votes
7answers
664 views

How to convince fellow cyclists to follow the rules, like stopping at red lights?

I'm basically a year-round cyclist in Toronto, Canada. The popularity of bicycling as a form of transportation and commuting here has been growing over the past few years, and I'm generally happy ...
15
votes
11answers
677 views

Urban Cycling Safety Innovations

Portland, Oregon is one of several U.S. cities with a progressive bicycling culture. A couple of innovations the city has implemented are "bike boxes" and "sharrows". Bike boxes are road markings ...
15
votes
11answers
1k views

Should I get a reflective jacket/coat, or more lighting and reflective strips for the bike?

What with daylight saving time ending and it now being pitch black by the time I finish work, I'm not exactly trusting of just a couple small lights on my bike being enough to make me visible to ...
15
votes
4answers
812 views

Why are battery-powered lights so popular?

Both on this site and "in real life", battery-powered lights appear to be at least as popular as generator-powered lights. I have always been slightly confused by this. To me, a generator-powered ...
15
votes
6answers
535 views

In shared bicycle/pedestrian facilities next to a road, do I obey the pedestrian or the vehicle traffic control devices?

My commute takes me on a bike path that runs parallel to a road (with a sidewalk in between). When crossing other roads, the sidewalk and bike path merge, and there is one curb-cut and cross walk with ...
15
votes
2answers
641 views

Passing cars on the right, and later merging into their lane

My commute takes me along a fairly busy road, with 4 lanes of traffic and parked cars along most of it. There are no bike lanes, but in some places, it's wide enough that I can easily pass traffic on ...
14
votes
11answers
844 views

How can I look unsafe to a car driver but be safe

This research seems to show car drivers give you more space if they think you are more likely to do something unpredictable. It claims that where a cycle helmet often results in drivers giving you ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Should the bike or the rider take the jolt from a bump, and how?

The last part of my commute to work has some significant bumps in the road which are really quite jarring, since I'm on a road bike that, of course, has no shocks (but has a carbon fork). Most of the ...
14
votes
5answers
352 views

When accompanying children on roads - ahead, beside or behind?

When accompanying children (in my case roughly in the 5 to 9 range) on a moderately busy (by rural standards) road on our commute to their school I'm sometimes ahead, sometimes beside (at least the ...
14
votes
6answers
520 views

If I'm riding on the road, and there is a red light but a walk signal in my direction, should I go?

I frequently come to stop lights in which there is an all-way stop and a pedestrian signal. I always stop at such lights, but I'm wondering if I should then bike slowly across after determining that ...
14
votes
5answers
541 views

How should I deal with bike messengers + others (salmon) riding the wrong way in a bike lane?

Frustrated cyclist "jegrgic" poses this question at the New York Cycling Club (NYCC) website. They say: When I see this, I want to just go over to the person and try to give them some common ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Are anti-pollution masks effective?

In Toronto when the temperature goes above 30 degrees Celcius (90 degrees Farenheit), for a few days and without wind, there is smog. I find the smog irritates and makes it difficult to breathe in ...
13
votes
7answers
726 views

Why should I use a mirror?

In a comment to an answer about helmet replacement mention was made of a mirror and perhaps suggesting that a helmet was merely a good place to mount a mirror. I, hopefully humorously, suggested that ...
13
votes
4answers
609 views

Is complaining to companies about bad driving like howling at the moon?

On my commute in this morning I found myself in another situation where I was in conflict with another road user. (Briefly, a truck and I arrived at a roundabout at a roughly similar time, but I was ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What are my options for cycling mirrors?

What options are available in terms of types of cycling mirrors? Where all can I mount them and what are the advantages and disadvantages to each?
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Night cycling: Is it worth using electroluminescent wire?

It's currently winter in the UK, so for my commete to and from work I need lights and reflective surfaces for safety. I've read about local people losing their lives cycling, so I don want to make ...
13
votes
5answers
508 views

What to do after an accident?

This morning I almost witnessed an accident. I was a couple of hundred metres behind the incident but arrived at the scene when a pedestrian was picking a bike from the middle of the road, a ...
13
votes
2answers
766 views

Do helmets really lose their quality with time even if kept in package?

A friend of mine, who works as a sales manager in a good bike shop advised me to never buy a helmet that is older than couple of years, and the best thing to do is to buy the current model line, when ...
13
votes
4answers
362 views

Determining if a road is safe to bike on

How do you determine which roads are safe to ride on and which should be avoided? What traffic patterns do you feel comfortable riding in, and which ones set off alarms? What sorts of intersections do ...
12
votes
6answers
809 views

What to do if you are about to get doored?

I was talking to a bike messenger the other day, and he said something that surprised me: If you see a car door swing open in front of you and you can't avoid it, pull your hands off the handlebars ...
12
votes
8answers
3k views

Is having your hands “on the hoods” of drop handlebars safe for braking?

I've never had a bike with drop handlebars, but may get one for commuting in busy London (likely a single-speed with mechanical disc brakes). This would mean riding with my hands mostly on the hoods, ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

Is there such a thing as frame failure?

Several general questions have been asked regarding how long a bike or bike frame will "last", and the gist of answers seems to be that a bike can last quite a while of the replaceable components are ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How close do I have to be for effective drafting (while commuting)?

I commute and want to draft another bike, but still have room to stop when someone opens a car door in front of the rider in front of me. At what distance does drafting significantly reduce drag? Are ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Would a military helmet make a safe alternative to a bicycle helmet?

I am in need of a new bicycle helmet and have been exploring some alternative options. One possibility I am considering is visiting my local Army Surplus store and getting a helmet there. I only use ...