10. Road traffic disciplines, protocols and dangers
Some forms of cycling
An ave of 36 cyclists have been killed annually since 2000, which is lower than the ave during the 1990s of
50 killed each
95% of these fatalities occur on the road, and less than 5% off road. Other cyclists break bones and incur nerve impairment from
falling off their bikes in accidents which may
be very painful.
A cyclist could fall from his/her bike, inter alia, due to -
(i) being hit by a car or another cyclist; or
(ii) cycling into a pothole; or
(iii) get a wheel caught in a gap in a timber bridge.
cyclist could -
be litigated by a seriously injured cyclist under common law where the damages
could easily exceed $500,000; and
lose his/her home if he/she did not have separate public liability cover.
injured cyclist could be awarded damages which a negligent cyclist could not
afford to pay if the negligent cyclist -
(I) did not have public liability cover; and/or
did not own valuable assets.
Civil Liability Amendment (Personal
Responsibility) Act 2002 No 92, in particular "Division 5 Recreational
(for NSW) transferred some liability from volunteer organisers to participants which
choose to participate in a recreational activity provided those
participants receive a risk warning which informs of all
Ride Organiser's weekly Bullsheet -
(i) regularly contains
of perceived dangers, which includes reminding each Muggaccinos cyclist to
hold third party public
liability insurance cover via membership of BNSW in case a Muggaccinos' cyclist's negligence injures a
third party; and
(ii) occasionally mentions bad cycling habits such as
cycling two abreast on a single lane road with an unbroken centre line which is
Muggs is predicated upon -
* participant cyclists holding
third party public
liability insurance cover; and
* notifying the Ride Organiser if he/she materially disagree with
any clause in the
"Liability Acknowledgment" form.
of cycling in traffic are not limited to -
(i) reckless, belligerent or
(ii) opening car doors; and
(iii) jaywalking pedestrians.
must be alert to the above three dangers whilst keeping a close eye on the
pavement for potholes, metal plates, drainage grids and other ground-level
should display himself/herself on the road as though he has the same rights as a
motorist to occupy a lane, because a cyclist does enjoy those same rights and
obligations. A cyclist which acts fearful or uncertain could encourage a
motorist to yell, honk or become irritated. A confident, assertive attitude
will generally earn the respect of motorists.
Cycling a straight line
will make you more visible
to motorists. Don’t weave in and out of stationery cars – you may disappear from
motorists’ sight and get squeezed when you need to merge back into traffic.
Assume that other drivers
haven't see you until you are sure that they do.
Try and make eye contact with
any driver which might pose a threat to your safety, particularly a driver
which may rapidly approach an upcoming road, and the speed of the
car indicates the driver may be keen to enter your path. Eye contact is an
important accident mitigant.
Learn to look back over your shoulder without
losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use a rear-view mirror. Look
over your right shoulder to check for vehicles coming from behind to avoid swerving suddenly into traffic. If you
glean that nearby motorists may have any doubts about your intentions,
hand signal before moving over.
there is no dedicated cycling shoulder,
ride towards the middle of the lane
in slower traffic -
drift towards the
middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same
speed as traffic, to discourage an unthinking motorist endeavouring to "squeeze you out".
When passing a parked vehicle on your LHS, always -
* endeavour to give a metre clearance; and
* diligently watch for the
Unlucky Door Prize,
namely a red brake light
which may indicate a driver's door is about to open
immediately in front of a cyclist's path.
Watch out for the
which can occur when
a motorist travelling in the opposite direction turns
directly across the path of a cyclist. Avoid being taken out by
a Right Cross by
wearing bright cycle clothing;
* cycling in an assertive and
prominent manner; and
* making sure you have a prominent white light "up
front" if you are cycling at night.
Watch out for the
Red Light of Death
which can occur when
a cyclist pulls up at a Red Light on the LHS of the LH
lane adjacent to a car which is already pulled up at the Red Light and the
motorist doesn't see the cyclist. When the light turns Green if the
cyclists moves forward, and the motorist then turns Left into the cyclist.
Avoid the Red Light of Death
by not pulling up in a stationery motorist's blind spot.
It is a sensible
courtesy to stop BEHIND the car which has pulled up ahead of you, instead of on its LHS.
If You do opt to drift up adjacent a car which has arrived before you, make
sure you get eye contact with the motorist, so the motorist is aware of your
Be on the lookout for cell phone users, dreamers and RedNeck motorists.
Cyclists usually have excellent visibility to see everything and they need to in
order to respond immediately to any bad motorists habits.
Assume that -
(i) any car door ahead
could be opened, so be on the lookout to avoid the
(ii) the car coming towards a
cyclist could suddenly cut across his path, so be alert for
(iii) a car passing a cyclist could
suddenly turn left, so avoid the
Red Light of Death.
k If you join a Bicycle User
don't get carried away with the hubris/excitement of cycling with a new group of cyclist enthusiasts by
riding two abreast to chat with a newly found cycle friend, if it entails sitting out in the
"Death Seat" on a single lane road with an unbroken centre line. Stay
focused on keeping the Rubber Side Down and wait until a Sag Stop
or Nosh Stop to shot the breeze. And get right off the road
at Sag Stops, 'cause an unsuspecting passing car could clip ya!!!