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Situations to Avoid When Cycling

What’s not to love about cycling? It is a fun, healthy, economical, and environmentally friendly way to get from one location to another. Unfortunately, there’s always a chance you’ll have a crash with a car when you ride anywhere vehicles are present. Even the most cautious cyclist cannot prevent an inattentive motorist. By understanding the most dangerous threats to cyclists and how to react in those situations, you can significantly decrease your chances of being in a crash. Here are some situations that you should try to avoid as a cyclist:

Situation 1: The Right Hook

The right hook is a common crash scenario encountered by cyclists. It happens when you are to the right of a motorist and he tries to turn right, turning into you. The best way to avoid this is to stay away from the right-hand lane if you’re near any cars that are turning. Be sure to ride in the center of the lane if you’re approaching intersections where vehicles often turn right—That way, you’ll be far more visible. You should also invest in a small mirror to look behind you when you’re on the streets—They’re only $10, and incredibly valuable once you start using one.

Situation 2: Don't Get Doored

Getting “doored” (when a passenger opens his door in front of you) is one of the most dangerous and deadly situations for cyclists. If you are approaching an area where cars park on the sides of the street, you run the risk of being hit by a door that is being opened. To avoid these kinds of accidents, you should ride at least four feet out in the lane. By being out in the lane, you won't be reached by an opening door. A good rule of thumb is that if you can touch the side mirror, you’re too close. This is the only effective way to avoid a door!

Situation 3: Potholes

Regardless of where you ride, potholes are inevitable. However, potholes can be serious dangers as well. Glance down to watch for potholes so you can prepare yourself. You should always ride at a safe speed because hitting a pothole too fast can result in a crash. Keep your bike "loose" so you can safely absorb the blow if you do hit a pothole and not crash. And, don't ride in areas where you aren't familiar with the roads because that increases your chances of hitting a pothole or loose gravel.

Situation 4: Big Trucks

When approaching a truck, you need to know that they have horrible blind spots. Don't ever approach a larger vehicle such as a truck from the right side. Also, avoid approaching a truck from behind too fast and too close because you could end up underneath the big truck. These are major dangers that you should avoid at all costs.

Situation 5: Be Visible

While these are some serious dangers you could encounter on the highways, you can keep yourself safe by knowing what to do in these situations. Regardless of when you are riding your bike and where you are riding it, you need to make sure you are visible. This means that you should wear fluorescent clothing during the day, such as neon yellow, hot pink, lime green or orange so you aren't camouflaged by the background. If you wear blue, black, brown, or green you will just blend with your surroundings. At night, make sure you have a red taillight and a white headlight, both of which should be visible from several hundred feet. Add reflectors to the fenders, pedals and spokes. Add reflective tape to your clothing to stand out as well. Reflective bands on your wrists and ankles also help you stand out. Consider wearing a flashing LED light on your clothes to help you stand out even more so drivers will notice you.

Staying Safe

By adhering to the rules of the road and watching for dangers that are more threatening to cyclists, you can stay safer when you are out on your rides. With the proper attention and care, you can avoid injuries that can keep you from enjoying cycling in the years ahead.

This article was created by Personal Injury Help, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice or opinion, and is intended for informational use only. To find out more about them, you can go to or contact them at

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