Questions tagged [safety]

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

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109
votes
31answers
52k 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 ...
95
votes
5answers
27k 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 ...
80
votes
13answers
4k 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 ...
73
votes
10answers
23k 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 ...
64
votes
8answers
7k 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? ...
57
votes
21answers
10k 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 ...
56
votes
15answers
29k 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 ...
53
votes
29answers
12k 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?
52
votes
9answers
5k 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 ...
50
votes
17answers
9k views

How to get over anger at inconsiderate drivers

Fortunately, I have very few strongly negative interactions with cars (most people generally seem to respect the way I ride), but those that do stick with me for a while. The scenario is almost ...
49
votes
13answers
4k 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 ...
49
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
46
votes
14answers
22k 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 ...
38
votes
15answers
9k views

Best ways to avoid getting hit by cars?

When riding through city traffic, what are the best ways to increase the chance you are seen, given a bit of space, and are not touched by any vehicles?
35
votes
3answers
4k views

Threatening swerving by driver - should I report it? (Canada)

I'm curious to get some opinions on this from other cyclists. FYI this event took place in Ottawa, Canada. On my work commute, there are about 3 blocks where I ride in the lane with cars because ...
34
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
33
votes
12answers
36k views

Using a ski helmet for winter biking

I am curious 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 accidents that you would have on a bike? My ...
31
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
29
votes
8answers
7k views

How to indicate you are going straight?

I live in a country where people drives on the right. Say I am riding my bike like this: - main road vvvv vvvv - narrow path vvvv vv \ \ | | \ \ |* | &...
29
votes
7answers
978 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, ...
28
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
28
votes
2answers
3k 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. ...
28
votes
7answers
6k views

Is there a way to hop up onto a parallel curb?

The scenario: you're riding in a curb-adjacent, paint-only bike lane. You happen to look over your shoulder (or in your mirror) and see a vehicle approaching from behind, either fully in the bike lane,...
26
votes
11answers
48k views

Carbon bikes make me nervous. Can you ease the tension?

Is it only me, or do Carbon bikes make others nervous! I realize that carbon fibre is strong, but for some reason, having a bike that isn't made out of metal seems like asking for trouble. My main ...
26
votes
11answers
39k views

What's the safest way to turn left from a right-side bike lane?

(United States road configuration and customs here. Sorry, those of you who drive on the left!) On my trip home, I use a bike lane near the right side of a very busy one-way arterial street; there is ...
26
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
25
votes
10answers
45k 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 "...
25
votes
12answers
1k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

How should I handle a highway patrolman who stops me occasionally to give incorrect instructions about my riding duties?

I live near a minor Tennessee town and frequently ride the few miles into town and back on state highways. Part of the route (the less busy part, ironically) has a dedicated bike lane, but it's filled ...
24
votes
9answers
17k views

Wrong way on a bike lane?

Is it OK to ride the opposite way on a designated bike lane? I'm in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. The reason I ask is because most of the lanes near me are only on one side of the road. The picture below ...
24
votes
4answers
23k 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?
24
votes
6answers
48k views

What are the risks of untrued wheels?

I understand that wheels should be trued for efficiency. Are there any safety risks (or risk of damaging the bike) in using untrued wheels? Are the risks different between wheels untrued left-right ...
24
votes
11answers
1k 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 side....
23
votes
7answers
16k views

What to do when a snake is in front of you?

I was coming out of a corner and saw something on the road about 10 meters up but only from about 5 meters I realised it's a snake trying to cross the path. I panicked but didn't really do anything. ...
23
votes
7answers
9k views

How can I offer a test ride while selling a bike?

I am selling a bike to someone I don't know from Craigslist. I expect that the prospective purchaser will want to test ride the bike before making the purchase. How can I prevent them from riding ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

Can road bumps excite frame eigen frequencies?

During my last bike holiday I have happened to ride downwhill on roads which had transversal stripes to mark the approaching of a turn. The stripes were made with road paint, and were slightly higher ...
23
votes
5answers
8k 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?
23
votes
4answers
7k views

Does it make you safer to use lights during the day?

My bike light, the Cygolite Metro 360, has a "Daylighting" mode which flashes very brightly and is intended to be used during the day. Similarly, many tail lights have flashing modes. Obviously one ...
23
votes
9answers
21k 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, ...
22
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
4k views

Is my stopping dangerous when Idaho Stop is de facto but not legal?

I've been bike commuting in the East Bay Area of California (5mi/day, plus public transport) for a few weeks now. I recently attended an in-class safety course, where I learned the fine for not ...
22
votes
8answers
2k 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?
22
votes
4answers
3k views

How to pass another bicycle in a bike lane

I bike to and from work in New York City, and I have noticed that while I stay very far to the right in the bike lane (literally on the line that marks the right most boundary of the bike lane), maybe ...
22
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
13answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
12answers
8k views

Is standing up and pedaling on multi-gear bicycles a bad idea

After reading While pedaling standing up, bike crank gives in as if shifting, what is causing this? , I was thinking "one should probably not be standing up to pedal under normal circumstances". Is ...
21
votes
6answers
6k views

How can I interpret the intent of and respond to cars behind me honking?

Two days in a row on my commute home I've had vehicles behind me start honking at me. (Note: I'm in Canada, and drive on the right.) The first time I was riding on a four-lane road, with a left ...
21
votes
5answers
542 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
7k views

Should unconventional colors be avoided for lighting?

Red/amber lights in the rear of the vehicle, white lights, in front of it: that is the good old convention and certainly switching their places is a bad idea. A quick search, however, shows other ...