It’s great that the Alliance for Biking and Walking three years ago named Boston the country’s safest walking and biking city, but in US cities, walking safety and biking safety are relative terms. Bikers in all cities have to be careful at all times. They need to take care, which often means preventive action. With that in mind, Rhett the Terrier puppet and Warren Towers have teamed up to teach you how to ride on the roads the best way they know:
Through an up-tempo, educational hip-hop song.
Wear a Helmet
Yes, we’ve all read about how people in the Netherlands don’t have to wear helmets, because their culture is far more bike-friendly than ours, but the bottom is line is: we’re not in the Netherlands.
If a car can’t see you, the car can’t avoid you—use front and rear lights at dawn, dusk, night, and in any situation where you might be hard to see. If you see that cars are using their lights, use yours!
Obey the Rules of the Road
When you bike on the road, realize that all road rules apply to you. When the choice is to delay your trip by a few minutes for a red light or risk get T-boned by a car you didn’t see…well, you get the picture.
There isn’t a single rule that will keep a biker from being doored or hit in a turn, but there are a few things you can do to reduce risk. Anticipate where vehicles are likely to go, and make your own path as predictable as possible. Drivers can’t read your mind any better than you can read theirs. Is the bus ahead of you stopped? Assume that passengers may be getting in or out on the right side. Is that a taxi pulling over? Doors may be opening soon after. If you’re in a bike lane in congested traffic, ride at a speed that will allow you to react immediately should something get in your way. Think ahead to what might be ahead!
This story was originally published on October 15, 2013.