Bike Safety Tips for Urban Cycling: Navigate Changing Lanes

Learn how to safely negotiate a turn in traffic for effective cycling within city limits.

| March 15, 2013

Effective Cycling is an essential handbook for cyclists from beginner to expert, whether daily commuters or weekend pleasure trippers. Effective Cycling (MIT Press, 2012) covers the bicycle itself, repairs and maintenance, basic and advanced cycling skills, and how traffic is organized. It describes cycling with friends, bicycle tours, increasing physical endurance, racing, and even finding a cyclist as a marriage partner. Throughout, author John Forester emphasizes that cyclists should consider themselves drivers of vehicles in traffic. The following is an excerpt in bike safety tips, teaching you safety for in-traffic cycling, especially negotiating a turn and changing lanes during urban cycling.  

You can buy this book in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Effective Cycling.

Basic Principles of Urban Cycling

There are five basic principles of cycling in traffic. If you obey these five principles, you can cycle in many places you want to go with a low probability of creating traffic conflicts. You won’t do everything in the best possible way, and you won’t yet know how to get yourself out of troubles that other drivers may cause, but you will still do much better than the average American bicyclist.

Five bike safety tips:

1. Drive on the right side of the roadway, never on the left and never on the sidewalk.

2. When you reach a more important or larger road than the one you are on, yield to crossing traffic. Here, yielding means looking to each side and waiting until no traffic is coming.

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