During a discussion about biking with a friend, he said aren’t you scared biking to work. I answer him that in general I am not scared biking to work, but I do have moments when I reflect on a situation that could have become dangerous. So, it dawned on me that I should put together a 10 top list of dangerous moments being a cyclist.
I spend almost 9 months out of the year in Toronto biking to work, during this time I have developed a sense of what I should watch out for – here are my top 10 dangers being a cyclist.
- Trucks – Because of the size and the skill level of the driver – it is the most dangerous thing for a cyclist – there is no law to have side guards on trucks in Ontario – it is very easy for cyclists to end up under one the trucks wheels. Watch the corners!
- Busses – Any big vehicles driven by ignorant drivers is a treat to a cyclist so are busses. The problem with buses is that they block the bike path when they have to cross in to pick up a passenger at bus stops. Be patient and wait it out, if you are traveling at more than 25km/hour on your bike, you should be ok to be ahead of a bus during rush hours as they have frequent stops and the average speed is about 22 km/hour.
- Cyclists– The accidents that I have been involved in has been with other cyclists. There are as many styles of cyclists that there are styles of drivers, it seems to replicate itself. An aggressive driver is in most cases an aggressive cyclist, and so on. Pay more attention to the cyclists around you while you are on the streets.
- Squirrels – (In my opinion one of the dumbest animals when it comes to making a decision) I have run over several squirrels this year, without killing one yet. So, watch out, their instincts are not that good in making a correct decision.
- Pedestrians – I touched on it before with cyclist and car drivers, there’s is as many personalities of pedestrians and you have to watch out for the aggressive ones that do not stop for anything and barge out in front of you believing they are in the right and you should stop.
- Electronic devices – Electronic devices are a lethal mix for any drivers, cyclists and pedestrian your focus is taken away, it is not possible to multi task if you are on the roads. Put that electronic device away, it been proven in a study that multi-tasking makes you dumber, you need your IQ on the streets.
- School Zone – It’s hard to not pass a school zone biking if you pass a school during the time of drop off or pick up you are in danger. The driver that dropping off or picking up is not paying attention to the surroundings, so you are in danger so be careful and pay attention when you passing a school.
- Right Turns – In Toronto you can turn right on a red, this causes a problem for cyclists if they are not paying attention. When I approach an intersection I pay attention to the car’s indicators, if the indicators show they turning I slow down and let them do their turn. But there are drivers that never use their indicator and only turn, even when it is red they do not slow down, they just turn. The rule on red is that they should come to a stop before turning.
- Runners (Running Clubs) – I do not know who got the idea that joggers have to run in the middle of residential roads, if you bike in the early evening you can run into running clubs that occupies a large part of the street you go on, and they are not moving. What is wrong with the sidewalk.
- Weather – I do not know what is wrong with drivers when it starts raining, they become very defensive in their driving and start making mistakes, suddenly they cannot see you and the risk for an accident is imminent. If you have to bike in the rain, stay away from the main streets and take less congested streets and pay extra attention.
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