Since Covid-19, the bicycle and electric bicycle sector has been experiencing unprecedented enthusiasm. Inevitably, the cycle paths filled up at high speed. This is an opportunity for us to provide you with some tips for good driving, along with some important rules to remember and apply.
In two years, the cycle market has jumped by 43%, reported Union Sport & Cycle in its Cycle Observatory published in April 2022. Beyond the figures, just take a look at the Parisian cycle paths – but not only – to see this phenomenon. Whether in winter and especially in summer, the cycle paths are full.
With so many users on the road, you need to double your vigilance and adopt responsible behavior, both to protect yourself and others. This article therefore seeks to recall some advice for good conduct as classic as it is obvious, as well as several mandatory rules that should be respected.
Some reminders might seem futile or self-evident, but refreshing your memory about the right attitude to adopt on a bike never hurts.
Headphones and earphones, to be banned
Listening to music with headphones or wireless headphones while cycling is probably one of the most dangerous behaviors. It is extremely necessary to remain attentive to surrounding noise and to be alert to the slightest audible warning (bell, horn, voice), at the risk of putting yourself and other users in danger.
It should be remembered that wearing headphones – just like holding your phone in your hand – is punishable by a fine of 135 euros. However, let’s not put everyone in the same basket: some people use the transparent mode of their audio device by listening to directions via Google Maps. In this case, vigilance remains in order.
Obey traffic lights
Said like that, it goes without saying. But far too many cyclists – once again, we must not generalize – run red lights and cut priority to pedestrians who have not asked for anything. Losing a few tens of seconds stopping at a red light is not a flaw either. Why the hell rush?
Remember that failure to respect the stop at an orange light results in a fine of 35 euros, against 135 euros for failure to respect the right of way for pedestrians. Once again, respecting this rule improves everyone’s safety and reduces the risk of a potential accident.
Report changes of direction
You may not have known it, but a ” change of direction without prior warning can cost you the sum of 35 euros. Always indicating your intentions with your arm – to turn right or left – is a way of giving essential information to other road users.
By doing so, a cyclist behind you will probably avoid passing you if you have to cut the cycle path in one way or another. This exercise in collective communication through body language is clearly not to be underestimated and should be adopted by as many people as possible.
Do not drive on sidewalks
The sidewalk is not the playground of cyclists, but rather that of pedestrians. On this type of road where recklessness is never far away, children and the elderly circulate daily. It is important to give them this space and not to oppress anyone because of emergency braking or too high speed.
Thus, it is mandatory to continue on foot with your bike in hand. And this for all cyclists over the age of eight. In which case, you are likely to put your hand in your pocket up to 135 euros.
Do not go up the queues on the right
Road users have a reflex to look in their left rear view mirror – or glance to the left – to get information. Whether on the road in the middle of motorists or on a cycle path, avoid going up a line or overtaking on the right at the risk of paying 135 euros.
Beyond the fine, it is your safety and that of others that is at stake.
Common sense first
The little glance that can save you
It’s advice that cannot be repeated enough, but taking a very furtive glance behind you on a regular basis is often useful – while remaining attentive to what is happening in front of you. This little reflex offers a better view of the space and the users around you.
Being aware of what is going on around you allows you to better adapt and anticipate dangerous situations. Seeing an electric scooter appear at high speed – because sometimes unbridled – or a bike at full speed will encourage you not to overtake the user in front of you, and thus avoid any dangerous situation.
Do not force the passage
On a two-way bike path, avoid forcing your way and overtaking everyone if a queue forms at a red light. It is useless here to overtake on the left, at the risk of blocking the way for cyclists arriving in front of you when the light turns green.
This creates discord, annoyance, and this, to gain a few seconds. Putting yourself in the “leu-leu queue” like ordinary mortals is not very complicated and helps to smooth the overall flow. On rue de Rivoli at certain intersections, this bad practice is unfortunately all too common.
In rainy weather, be careful
As in a car or a scooter, unpredictable weather should push you to double your vigilance and reduce your speed. Some tires – including slicks – can become very slippery on wet floors.
Driving slower means better anticipating situations and better managing your braking – ideally the most progressive – to reduce the risk of losing grip and falling. After all, we are never safe from a hunting tire.
Be courteous to pedestrians
Pedestrians have priority, which is more so when there is no traffic light controlling traffic at a zebra crossing. Remember to be courteous by stopping and letting pedestrians pass. In the opposite situation, you would welcome a cyclist giving way to cross a road.
Protect yourself and others
Car-dooring, vigilance is required
The phenomenon ofcar dooringis extremely dangerous for the cyclist, as it could seriously injure him in the event of an incident. This happens when a person opens their car door without looking back first and a cyclist is right in front of said door at the time.
The shock is generally violent, because sudden and brutal.
Of course, it is above all motorists and their passengers who must be careful first and foremost, but so are you. If you find yourself on a track on which cars adjoin the cycle lane, then vigilance must be doubled. If in doubt, consider reducing your speed while keeping your fingers ready to pounce on your brake levers.
leave some space
As in a car, leaving space with the cyclist in front of you can be a winning behavior in the event of an accident. This makes it possible to better anticipate emergency braking and not to crash into the person.
Too many times, cyclists collide, because their too slow reaction time – precisely caused by insufficient space between the two users – prevents them from stopping in time. Your mount and that of others will hold up much better.
The art of foresight
Even on a bike, everything is a story of anticipation. Learn to observe the distance, the surroundings and to understand who surrounds you, who could appear from anywhere. Also, on one lane, but in two directions, do not tempt the devil to pass someone while another cyclist tumbles in front, a few meters away.
It’s the risk of finding yourself with three people, almost side by side, in a small space because of a cycle path that is not wide enough. Joining friends, going home or going to work is not a race: getting behind a bike slightly slower than you on a busy track is sometimes the easiest and safest solution.
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