You’r life in You’r Hands

So much of riding a bike or motorcycle is common sense and experience – then again sometimes it is not.

I’m sure you have all seen those silly little ‘Anti Cycling’ clips that have been constantly appearing on the internet, suggesting that the person in the clip was riding his bike in a manner that, although in accordance with the new guidelines from the government, is riding in this manner is a danger to all other road users.

Of course, these clips are all staged – you never see a face, and the rider is always so far away for anyone to get any indication of who they are.

I have been riding a bicycle all of my life, and a motorcycle since the age of 16 (legally) and I’m still here. I ride my bicycle in the same manner as my motorcycle; I use all of my own side of the road.

What I mean by that – is if I am coming up to a left-hand corner I move out into the road so I can see as far as possible around that corner (car drivers are already there they are sitting on the right-hand side of their car) – in this way I am forewarned of any obstacle in my path, road-works, poor road surface, potholes, or broken down vehicle, and have a better idea of how sharp the corner is.  As soon as I see all is clear ahead I can move back across onto the left-hand side of the road again.

Coming up to a right-hand bend the opposite applies – I move close to the kerb/verge to see as far around the bend as possible – move out to the white line at the apex of the corner then back to the left side of the road, once more.

Riding in the way not only allows you to see the road ahead it also straightens out the bend, (taking the racing line) therefore much safer.

I use the same tactics on my bicycle going down steep and twisty roads, although you do not have to venture so far out into the road. You should be safe enough unless some clown in a car was impatient enough to pass you coming up to a blind bend.

The other trick to keep you healthy on a bicycle is when you are turning off a road, to your right. You take a glance behind, nothing at your side or close behind – a mirror is not good enough – there is a blind spot when a car is up alongside you but far enough over so that the mirror will not pick it up. Now stick your hand out anyway, even if the road looks clear behind, indicating your intention, and move to the centre of the road.

Now use what they call in the Police Motorcycling Handbook “LIFESAVER” glance once more behind – there will always be a car driver that tries to overtake – even when he sees you are about to turn right. And no matter who the blame is apportioned to later – the cyclist is going to come off worse, or dead.

Turning left, no car is going to pass you on the inside here but a motorcyclist or cyclist may try if you leave them a big enough gap, (I thought you were going straight on).

Again glance behind – then close the distance between you and the kerb – quick glance once more – a pedestrian may decide to step off the kerb in front of you (probably sending a text, on the phone, or playing computer games at the time) and like before, the cyclist will come off worst.

Stay safe

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