All of the reflective material and blinky lights in the world don't mean much if you are weaving in and out of traffic or cars buzz by you too closely, too fast.
Minimize risk by knowing how to position yourself in the lane. This page is SO educational for both drivers of automobiles and operators of bicycles. Please read the information, watch the video, and view the animation. Then come back and ask questions, and tell us what you think.
It is set up as a FAQ, answering common questions and concerns:
- “Biking in the middle of the lane like that sure looks dangerous.”
- “I thought bicyclists had to keep all the way to the right.”
- “Why weren’t you in the bike lane?”
- “Wouldn’t you just be safer biking on the sidewalk?”
- “You’re gonna get run over.”
- “You’re impeding traffic.”
- “You’re supposed to ride single-file.”
- “Bicyclists don’t pay gas taxes, and shouldn’t be allowed on roads.”
- “Bicyclists should be required to have driver’s licenses.”
- “Too many bicyclists think the laws don’t apply to them.”
I agree with a lot of the information on that page, up until the last bit... I tend to fall in line with Elly Blue's idea, in her recent Grist article, "True confessions of a bicycle scofflaw." (Emphasis is mine.)
Yet there's a persistent meme out there, spread by bike advocates and bike haters alike, that we two-wheeled travelers need to earn our right to the road by absolute adherence to stop sign laws. This is smoke and mirrors. What we really need are streets that bring out the best in us -- streets that are slow and safe enough that we can intelligently negotiate our interactions in traffic with each other.
Thanks for letting me share my opinion, and I really hope that you visit the link to the safety page, I think it is a really good resource.