This tip of the week is a simple one that is a must. When entering an intersection where you do not have to stop, make sure you make "eye to eye" contact with that car or truck, and don't take for granted that they see you. You can also look at their front tire to see if it is moving. People out here in Dakota County are used to looking for something bigger than you and your bike. If in doubt, cover your brake levers.
This is the time of the year in which we have to think about another safety factor, the sun. We have all experienced driving in our own cars, driving along and then turning to go east in the morning, our turning to go west at night. You can't flip that sun visor down quick enough, right?? This can be a dangerous thing especially if you are riding into that bright light on a road with no our very little shoulder. I personally have witnessed this twice since riding with a group. Luckely no one was seriously hurt. So take in consideration that the driver of any kind of vehicle can be blinded by the sun and not be able to see you.
Out here in Dakota County, we don't have to worry about this the way city cyclists do. I'm talking about riding by cars that are parked on the street. It is my experience that a lot of drivers that park on the street do not look into their side view mirrors before they open up their door. The best way to avoid an ugly end-o is to get used to looking for a head behind the wheel of the car, and always try and give yourself a little clearance of 3 ft. if possible without getting too far out in the traffic lane.Read More
While on the Grand Performance Sprint ride, at the intersection of Cliff and Johnny Cake Rd. Joe Christian, who leads Mello Velo tours was hit from behind by a pickups passengers mirror on the left shoulder. Lucky for him, and he told me so, that the big mirror was ducked taped on so it broke away very easy. Dan Casebeer said that the pickup came very close to him while riding behind Joe. I was right behind Joe and to the right so I could see the whole thing. The driver sped away knowing what had happened. If Joe would have been just 1 ft. or less further to the left we would have been making a 911 call. The driver of the pickup had alot of room to avoid all this but he was the 1/10th of 1 % of the drivers who have this mentality towards bike riders on THEIR road.
This is a subject that everyone who rides a bike does not want to think about, but is very important. If you ever get into an accident with a car when out riding it's always a good idea to call 911 and get a police report no matter how insignifigant you might think it is at the time. 30 years ago I was hit from behind by an 83 year old man that was not paying any attention to me. A friend of mine at a local well know law firm gave some great advice on what to do said, whatever you decide, never sign a release form from an insurance company until at least a year later. Hope you will never find a need for this!
Roundabouts are becoming more popular as you know. They can also mean a more dangerous situation for bike riders. I'm going to give the one on Hwy. 3 just a few miles south of Rosemount as an example. Since it's a single lane one you need to pay attention to vehicles behind you just before entering the circle. Look over your left shoulder and if there's a vehicle coming up on you you have 2 choices to make in a hurry. Either slow down and let them enter the circle 1st, or single with your hand that you are taking up the whole lane. The reason for this is to not get pinched between you and that car with no escape route. Remember that "two objects can't occupy the same space at the same time". The two lane roundabouts are much safer. Be careful out there.