Tri Talk Tuesday – Road Riding

Oh Tuesday! Here you are, sneaking up on me again. Cynthia and I are all linked up for another week of Tri Talk Tuesday! And today’s topic is one that is sometimes in hot debate- motorist and cyclists sharing the road.

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Some places are lucky enough to have bike trails that are nice and safe to ride. But most of us aren’t that lucky, myself included. So I get the pleasure of riding on the regular old roads with all the cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, and whatever else. So I have to be on alert sometimes all the time when I’m riding.

If, like me, you’re left to road sharing when out riding, it’s soooo important to keep yourself safe as best as you can. You can’t control the drivers out on the road too and I hear lots of stories of people having things thrown at them, being yelled at, and intentionally pushed off the road. As the more vulnerable party, it’s up to us to do our best to stay safe. So here’s a few things to keep in mind to stay as safe as possible when out on the road.

1. Pick safe routes- Drive around a bit and scout out some roads. Or ask your local bike shop for some ride route ideas. Odds are there are roads with wide enough shoulders or even bike routes that are good for logging your miles. A little due diligence now means not ending up a narrow road with no shoulder crawling with trucks and cars.

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2. Be prepared- Carry everything you need on you. This means a flat kit, a few extra bucks, water and food if need be, wear your helmet, have your phone and a form of ID. And speaking of ID…

3. Wear a Road ID- This is basically a medical alert bracelet on steroids. It will have you name, address, emergency contacts, and any known allergies or medical history listed on it. Should anything happen to you EMT’s will see it on your wrist and know who you are, how to treat you, and who to call within seconds of getting to you. And Road ID offers an emergency alert app so if you’re out riding or running and you stop moving for a certain amount of time it will ping an alert to your emergency contact’s phone letting them know you’re no longer moving so they can call and check on you. Road ID saves lives. I’m wear mine 24/7 and so should you. There’s a link on my right side bar for Road ID, so do yourself a favor and go buy one. Your life is worth it.

4. Know the rules of the road- Cyclists are legally allowed to share the road and under those laws we are also meant to follow the rules of the road. This includes riding with traffic, being in the turning lane if you’re making a left, obeying stop lights and signs, using hand signals to let motorist know your intentions, and all that comes with driving and riding. That said, the other rule you should know is how many feet a motorist is legally supposed to give you when they pass you. Don’t know your state’s law? Here they all are-

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If you live outside the US I don’t have a map for you, sorry!

5. Be humble and cognizant- It’s tough because as cyclist we know we’re allowed to share the road, but just because we know it doesn’t mean motorists do. And even then they might but may not like having to be slower, more careful, respectful about sharing. Yes, motorists should know the laws around road sharing, but sometimes they don’t. Or sometimes they do and play ignorant. It’s up to you, the much more vulnerable party on the road to keep yourself safe. I’m not sure when it became okay in people’s mind’s to intentionally do harm to cyclists, and usually without repercussion, but lately that seems to be the trend.

Cycling is an incredible sport and one of the most freeing feelings you could possibly harness. It’s too bad that it’s so easy to tarnish the joy of riding. But with some smart planning and riding we can be happy, safe, and coexist with motorists.

What safety tips do you have to add?

Best part about riding a bike?

Next week’s theme is Must Have Gear! What favorite workout gear cannot you not live without?


9 Thoughts on “Tri Talk Tuesday – Road Riding

  1. Great post! I am blessed to live in an area with toooons of bike paths! I’ve literally rode 90 miles all on bike paths before! Because of this, I rarely ride on the roads.

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 27, 2014 at 8:29 am said:

      That’s incredible you have so many bike paths! I’m definitely jealous

  2. To be honest I’ve never thought of wearing road ID but I guess I usually carry my health card just in case something happened. I agree, being cognizant and picking safe routes is a must! If you’re road smart, confident and safe I think more often than not you’ll be safe but never assume a car is going to stop for you.
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    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 27, 2014 at 8:30 am said:

      That’s mart to carry your insurance card too! I’ve never thought of that and might start just in case

  3. Great post. I really like the map. I am so glad you posted it.

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 27, 2014 at 8:30 am said:

      That map is great! Everyone should be aware of the biking laws in their state

  4. After being hit 2x in the space of 3 months while training for the NZ ironman I decided that I needed to take some action to keep myself safe(r). I agree with your tips about scouting the safest routes possible. I would add that you need to figure out when is the time of day with the least traffic if you have to use main roads etc. Ride on bike paths as much as you can. Check out the mountain bike trails in your area too. You don’t have to be a downhill demon. Most MTB areas will have trails that anyone can ride.
    The best piece of safety equipment I have is a rear view mirror. All my bikes now have one. This means I can time passing parked cars and turning so that it is safe for me. I frequently stop to let the traffic thin out before I move to the middle of the road at intersections.
    We do have the same rights as other road users but we will always come off worse in any collision.
    Stay safe and stay upright.

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 27, 2014 at 8:31 am said:

      I hope you’re okay! Getting hit once is tough enough, but twice in such a short span of time!? Knowing traffic times is a great idea too. And I’ve never thought of adding a review mirror. That’s a great idea for training and riding.

  5. I do most of my training now on a mtn. bike on trails. I would rather run into a bear, javelina or cactus than be hit by a car.

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