How to Commute Adelaide (tips on riding safe - contributions welcome)

So a big part of my riding journey (which involved a little bit of road biking, but now primarily commuting) has been watching videos that other riders have posted and thinking about how I could avoid potential issues they may have faced, what could be done better, how I might approach a particular situation etc. There are heaps of places in Adelaide I haven't ridden as I commute mostly from the east and through the CBD, sop its nice to see other parts of Adelaide and any issues riders may face.

I guess this is intended as an educational tool for new and/or established riders, but by no means do I think my riding is perfect, and I'd like to think this thread could be a place for constructive criticism. So if you do collect video and have an instructional video feel free to post it in here for feedback or for educative purposes. 

One video I really enjoyed was Ruddagers, where he detailed some tips on commuting in traffic. I hope you don't mind me reposting it here, if so, let me know!

Here is a recent video I made with similar observations and ideas

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Great idea. Some obvious ones I think

  • Stay out of the door zone
  • Take the lane when you need it 
  • Be very careful at roundabouts
  • Never assume you have been seen
  • Indicate
  • Don't do things drivers won't expect

Some people might not want to do but I think help

  • Lights all the time
  • Mirror

I have a small mirror on my bar end and it is essential for me

Agree I couldn't live without it. (Possibly that is literally true!)

I also should have added don't listen to music but lots of people do and seem to survive.  My ears are my first line of defence. 

  • Never ride at such a speed that you can't stop in less than the clear distance you can see ahead.
  • Be aware of changes in the shadows when you are passing a stationary or slow-moving line of traffic.  You may see the shadow of a vehicle about to cross your line before you see the vehicle itself.  Also, a long gap in the shadows may indicate a space that someone will try to turn through or into.
  • Always expect the unexpected.

I agree with "mirror".  Get a good, big one, such as an after-market motor-bike one, or a gopher one.  Much better field of view.  (Both of these types are generally cheaper than similar-quality bike-specific ones.) 

With a mirror, using the Currie/Grenfell St bus lanes is good.  Just keep a lookout for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles behind you, and don't make way (apart from safety considerations) for for any other car or truck - generally, they shouldn't be there.  I sometimes amuse myself by commenting on the funny-looking "buses" using the bus lanes, loud enough for the drivers to hear.

David, I once kept to the left of the Grenfell bus / bike lane, moving right to get round parked vehicles. But cyclists advised to ride in a straight line. So decided the illegal drivers can beep and tailgate, but I will stay in the bike lane and take satisfaction from slowing them down. I don't see SAPOL booking drivers there.

My 2c worth:

  • I'm invisible on the bike
  • Always have an escape vector planned
Avoid black helmets, The difference between being seen and not being seen in the flash of a glance may get down to helmet Color.
If traffic has stopped, get your head up. People and cars suddenly appear from the right in stopped traffic, going into driveways, bus stops.
Google "Italian racing mirror" and consider getting one. Not easy to setup but once done it's always there.

Something I didn't do when I first started riding, taking the lane through a roundabout

Excellent advice, I've been doing this ever since I was forced into the curb one time...

ALWAYS take the lane before the roundabout!

Some really good tips. Already said, but which I find especially important are always avoiding door zones and controlling the lane in roundabouts (well in advance and with clear signalling). 

I'll jump into the frying pan and add two more which some may find contentious:

1. Don't wear cleats/clips. At least, don't start wearing cleats just because you see other cyclists wearing them or think thats what proper cyclists should do. Cleats may have a place in road racing but the efficiency gains they are supposed to give are unnecessary for commuting and they are not worth the danger of cleat stacks or not being able to pedal up quickly and smoothly from lights, or away from a road event in which you stop and then need to remove yourself from quickly. 

2. Consider not wearing a helmet. In my experience drivers give you more space when not wearing a helmet. This was also found in a UK study (Ian Walker, 2007) (albeit with a statistically insignificant margin). Perhaps drivers give you more space because they think you are drunk, inexperienced, reckless, just more noticeable or who knows. Maybe they don't give you more space. But I find it works. However, this last tip may make your commute more costly. (For those who want to argue helmet efficacy with me, I'll argue it, but first consider how its better to reduce the risk of a collision than mitigate its effects afterwards.)

2. Consider not wearing a helmet.

A friend of mine used to wear an afro wig over his helmet. That made him stand out.


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