It’s apparently “do construction on every road simultaneously” season in Orange County, at least around my neck of the woods. Which wouldn’t be a problem if the construction projects weren’t scheduled to last until 2014 (I’m looking at you Sand Canyon grade re-alignment).
So, if we’re determined to get out and ride our bikes, what are the best strategies for staying safe?
Handle your bid in an assertive and sure manner. Signal all turns, lane changes and stops (use hand signals). Also, travel in ways cars are used to seeing other traffic travel. Stay to the right (unless you’re taking a lane – more on that in a minute), ride with traffic – NEVER against it (“bike salmon-ing is a quick way to die”), don’t weave between cars, stop at signals and signs. All common sense stuff.
Take the Lane
California Vehicle Code Section 21202 states that “When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side”. If you find yourself in a cone-zone with no shoulder, signal your intent and take the lane. As soon as it is safe for you o move to the right again, do so, but don’t feel pressure if you’re holding up traffic. It’s your right to do so.
I highly recommend using a flashing bike light on the front and back of your bike day or night. For the front, use a white light, preferably 100 lumens or more. On the back use a red light such as the planet bike super flash.
These tips should help you during your rides. There’s no substitute for solid bike handling skills and awareness, stay focused and practice emergency and evasive bike handling skills before you hit the roads, especially if you’re pulling your child(ren) in a trailer.
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