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  • Writer's picturetonygowland

Don't ride in the gutter

When riding on a normal road don’t ride too close to the kerb, because that’s where the nasty debris collects, and it’s this debris that is likely to cause a puncture. But the main reason for not riding there is because it encourages motorist to pass you, squeezing you further into the kerb.

You are as much entitled you use the road as anyone else, of course you shouldn’t deliberately hold up the traffic, but some motorists expect a cyclist to go slower so that they can go faster.

Cycling about one metre from the kerb is much safer. It makes motorists go around you just as they would when overtaking any other vehicle. Also riding away from the kerb and in the lane makes other road users more aware of you which is also much safer. In the mornings when drivers are thinking about the day ahead they are not so aware of cyclists, so it’s very much up to you make them aware by riding in such a way that you can be seen clearly, and they are more likely to be conscious of you if you are riding directly in front of them. If they hoot you, while that’s is irritating and will make no difference, at least you know that they have seen you, and that’s good.

Don’t delay other road users unnecessarily but don’t be intimidated by them either. Hold your ground and don’t be pushed into the gutter so they can speed past you only to be stopped by the next set of traffic lights. Most drivers have sons, daughters, partners and friends who cycle so they do understand the issues that cyclist have. It’s only a few selfish road users who don’t, but it’s those who need to be most aware of you when you’re out on the road. So make it easy for them, Signal well in advance, wear bright reflective clothing and be firm but cautious when riding you bike. If you come across a pot hole in the road, you need to ride around it, and you need to tell other road users why you are riding around it. So point at it to let motorists know what you are doing and why, they will be grateful and you will be safer.

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