The League of American Bicyclists is the nation’s premier bicycle advocacy group which, over the last forty years, has developed THE national standard in bicycle safety education. It is unfortunate that most people learned most of what they know about safe cycling in fourth grade and haven’t updated that knowledge since. So this brief article is calculated to provide an update to those of you who bicycle for fun and for those who use the bicycle as practical transportation.
The premise of the entire League Cycling Instructor curriculum is that “cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.” As a recreational cyclist on tour, out for a fun day ride, or using your bicycle as an efficient means of running errands if you practice this principal in “driving” your bicycle you should be safe and sound.
As a bicyclist you should assume even more responsibility as a defensive “driver” than when you are in a motor vehicle. Defensive “drivers” should commit no driving mistakes and even more importantly, they should adjust their behavior on the road to compensate for the potential errors of others.
In short, it is YOUR responsibility to
- Not fall off your bike;
- Not allow anyone else to knock you off your bike;
- In the event a rare crash DOES occur, wear proper protective gear to avoid injury (that would be a helmet and gloves, at the very least).
How do you to numbers one and two? “Act as the driver of a vehicle and demand treatment as the driver of a vehicle.” Simply put, follow the rules of the road in the country where you are cycling.