Cycling Tips from an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Riding in a group not only is fun, but also reduces your risk of crashing because you are more visible when riding in a group as opposed to just riding alone. All too often, a driver will not even see you if you are riding alone.
Just like any group, there are basic expectations about riding and how you should behave. There are certain rules, or etiquettes, which many cyclists say are important to avoid crashes and to maintain cordiality. In fact, a bicycle accident lawyer will agree that some rules are pretty common sense by nature.
Though it has similarities with driving rules, practicing etiquette when cycling is much more crucial. Even a single mistake can make a difference between life and death. Besides, nobody wants to ride with a jerk. If you maintain a good attitude, you will enjoy your ride with the group.
Keep it Steady
Swerving or consistently moving from one spot to another will cause people behind you to crash. Maintain a consistent speed and path, and don't try to overtake people again and again. Remember: group riding is not a race.
If you observe carefully, leaders do not yo-yo back and forth; they do not lead and then fall back and then lead again. They are steady. If they are in the lead, they do not intentionally accelerate. They need to ensure that the pack maintains a particular pace. As a good cyclist, you should also avoid abrupt braking because this could cause people behind you to either crash or stall.
Stay with Stragglers
Not all people have the same skill and speed levels. In any group biking activity, some get tired and stay behind while some get separated in intersections. If you are the lead group, you must slow down and soft pedal until they catch up. You do not have to stop, but you should at least maintain a slow and steady pace so everyone can catch up.
As a courtesy to the slower cyclists, you can also stay with them if they are at a full stop. This principle is highly applicable if they do not know the route, but you do. They will highly appreciate it. Needless to say, this etiquette does not apply if the group is riding for a race.
Carefully Change Positions
A lot of new cyclists make the mistake of pulling off the front position at the exact time they want to. They abruptly stop pedaling, apply soft brakes, and expect the other cyclists to pass through them. This practice is harmful because it creates a ripple effect, which can be dangerous.
The right thing to do to change from front to rear position is to reduce pedal acceleration, which cyclists behind you will notice, causing them to slow down, too. This approach prepares everybody to reduce speed as you pull to the right at an adequate pace. Then you can let the rest pass through.
Maintain Bar to Bar
When riding in a group, it is expected that you travel in pairs. The cyclist pair will ride alongside each other with only a few inches in between. The distance between you and your partner should not fit another cyclist. This strategy is what group cyclists call handlebar to handlebar riding.
This etiquette aims to maintain a consistent riding flow. When you are riding with a partner, you can measure up your speed and distance against each other. It is your duty to maintain a slower pace if your partner is not as fast as you are.
Never Scream or Yell
Although the intention is good, yelling a warning is never an appropriate action to take in group riding. You will never see any professional cyclist shout if there is a hole, a car, or incoming traffic. Yelling is a distraction that causes accidents.
Every time you scream something, only a few cyclists behind you can make out what you are saying. The people further back only hear something garbled. So while the rest of the group is riding steadily, others who heard the blur will start focusing on looking for what you yelled about, even if they do not have a clue about it. This can disrupt cyclists and even cause an accident.
Even if you do not have the best bike among the group, or if you are using old sports clothing and gears, your teammates will still value you not for what you have but for what you are. Nobody in any group can tolerate someone who has no respect for the common interest of the others.
Besides, even a bicycle accident lawyer will tell you that having a good reputation can make your statements more credible, in case you ever crash and need to make an insurance claim. Always follow the rules and basic guidelines for etiquette, and you will have a safe and enjoyable group cycling experience.
Last Updated: 03-24-2017