When cyclists take to the road for Bike to Work Week, Michael Addiscott is hoping both they and the motorists they share the tarmac with will do their utmost to stay safe.
“First and foremost, it’s all about behaviour,” Addiscott, the organizer of the Oceanside event said this week. “It’s about good practices on the road.”
One of the key things for cyclists to keep in mind, he said, is road position. Addiscott stressed that cyclists should not ride on the opposite side of the road to the normal direction of travel, but rather, keep to the right — but not too far.
“Appropriate road position is not right in the gutter, where drivers can lose sight of you and gravel can cause a puncture,” he said. “Be far enough out that drivers take notice of you and are less likely to squeeze you and make a right-hand turn in front of you.”
As well, he stressed the need for cyclists to wear clothing that makes them visible to drivers.
Of key importance, he added, is the need for drivers to show courtesy to cyclists, as well as the other way around.
“Any time I run into a problem on the road it’s because of inconsiderate driver behaviour,” he said. “Cyclists are valid road users.”
That sense that cyclists are intruding on automobile turf, he said, means drivers are often more likely to exhibit anger and frustration at cyclists — even if they’re doing exactly what other motorists are doing.
“Drivers will ignore speeding motorists who are putting people in possible danger of death, but if they see one cyclist blow a red light, they are outraged,” he said. “Might makes right.”