10.          Road traffic disciplines, protocols and dangers

  1.     Some forms of cycling are dangerous.  An ave of 36 cyclists have been killed annually since 2000, which is lower than the ave during the 1990s of 50 killed each year.  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.

           A negligent cyclist could -

           (a)     be litigated by a seriously injured cyclist under common law where the damages could easily exceed $500,000; and

           (b)     lose his/her home if he/she did not have separate public liability cover.

           A seriously 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

           (II)     did not own valuable assets.

           Civil Liability Amendment (Personal Responsibility) Act 2002 No 92, in particular "Division 5 Recreational Activities" (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 obvious risks.


    (a)       the Ride Organiser's weekly Bullsheet -

               (i)         regularly contains risk warnings 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 taboo; and

           (b)       cycling with 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.

  2.     Risks of cycling in traffic are not limited to -
    (i)        reckless, belligerent or blindsided motorists;
    (ii)       opening car doors; and
    (iii)       jaywalking pedestrians.

    Cyclists 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 hazards.  

  3.     A cyclist 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.

  4.     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.

  5.     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.

  6.     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.

  7.     If 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".

  8.     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.

  1.    Watch out for the Right Cross 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.

  2.     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 presence.

  3.     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 Unlucky Door Prize;

                           (ii)         the car coming towards a cyclist could suddenly cut across his path, so be alert for the Right Cross; and

                (iii)        a car passing a cyclist could suddenly turn left, so avoid the Red Light of Death.


       k         If you join a Bicycle User Group, 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!!!