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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jeez I would have rapped on the window that last car, the blue Hyundai, and given the driver a serve. 

I've definitely had a few hair raising experiences. For example this afternoon on my commute home I was approaching a small intersection when a woman who was stopped at the give way sign clearly saw me coming along (at roughly 35km/h) She thought about it and then pulled out directly in front of me as if I was travelling at snail pace resulting in me having to grab a handful of brake. She drove a whole lot slower than I was going down the road which in turn wasted the valuable 5 seconds of my day that I could have spent doing much more important things such as sitting at a red light. Haha. I think it's just the mentality of not wanting to drive behind a cyclist that causes them to risk our lives! I should probably start bringing my gopro with me to film such interesting happenings. 

Sometimes they appear to be looking but they look straight through you

Bang your hand on their car roof - that noise usually wakes them from their slumber...

Kovin, be aware that with some drivers, this could encourage road rage, and a cyclist can be vulnerable without a one-tonne cocoon.
I like to yell 'bike lane' as I veer around a vehicle parked in a bike lane. Even this reminder of the road rules can get a negative reaction.

I understand, but I don't chase them down to do that, if they have come that close to me that I can reach to do so, it is a situation that needs a warning, because next time, it will probably require an ambulance when they have crunched me from being so close and pushing their weight around because they know they can... I only have one life, not going to let some ignorant pushy motorist take it from me and get away with a slap on the wrist, so they get a slap on the car... a polite tinkle from a bike bell just doesn't work, esp. for those driving around with windows up and wearing earbuds as well, probably concentrating on the phone conversation / playlist, rather than the road like they should...

I too verbally remind people about where they are on the road, but when they turn into a driveway across the front of you, instead of waiting all of 15 seconds, or they do a uturn right into your path, they need to be called out on their behaviour - it might actually sink in to one of them...

It seems bike lanes are just free parking spaces  right outside the shops for some people... We should not be further intimidated and cower off into the gutter just because cars are bullies - we DO have as much right to the road as cars, and we need to assert that right to space and safety - literally, our lives depend on it. Educating drivers should be the role of government, and enforcing the rules the role of SAPOL, but sometimes, an impromptu reminder that actually gets their attention is required in the moment. 

I agree it is about respect and tolerance between cyclists and drivers, but some drivers just have none of either...

I prefer not to sneak up on cars. Never ride in their blindspots. If the stationary traffic starts moving off I just slow and position myself between two cars. Never passing a car on the approach to any side street. Service station school etc.

The be safe be seen mac workplace/group presentations are very informative. Presenting facts about the most common car v bike collisions,  how to position yourself, when to take the lane...pretty much everthing talked about you get a free front usb chargable light And other is a free session as long as thereare 10 or more people.

  • Indicate your intentions clearly ( hand signals )
  • Never assume you have been seen +1 from others
  • get eye contact with on coming drivers
  • Don't do things drivers won't expect +1
  • Flashing head Lights all the time  +1
  • Don't be  carbon riding wanker and draft / sit on fellow commuters rear wheel
  • Don't pass fellow commuters with "1 cm" to spare, you scream blue murder if cars do it, yet many cyclists think its fine to do it to other cyclists.
  • Call out "passing" ... "on your right" etc...when passing
  • when turning right at busy intersections, don't go 'in the traffic' etc and turn with the cars..
    instead stay in the bike lane, go straight "across the intersection like normal", then wait with the traffic on the other side and go straight ahead straight , then right as 2 traffic light operations, yeh it takes longer, but its much safer


I've done 9000km on my commuter, through the city etc and had zero problems, been abused only twice,
and one of those was bogans yelling at my bright yellow rain gear.

If you ride smart / defensively / and with courtesy, (realizing that you can be all shades of 'in the right', but still end up dead) you have a better chance of staying safe, who cares if you beat you STRAVA time to get home, if you got family, like we all do, getting home SAFE is the only priority.

I also wear a Road ID bracelet, there are other brands out there, that has my contact info, 
(I remember seeing a fellow commuter one day who was laid out next to the road with an ambulance and thinking I hope they know who he is etc...

indicate your intentions - YES

Never assume - YES

Don't do anything unexpected - YES

Get eye contact - YES, BUT! I don't trust eye contact in Australia. In Europe, following eye contact I can be pretty sure vehicle drivers will acknowledge your presence and generally do right / in favour of the cyclist. In Australia, I'n not even sure they look / see, and even then, they might actually assume you will do whatever it takes to keep out of their way.

The latter also guides my general attitude in traffic, do whatever I can to have control of the situation, including claiming the lane, signaling, hi-viz (I have a bright orange Nike dri-fit t-shirt that is my standard cycling attire). Having control also means being prepared to give up any right of way, or any other legal rights, to stay safe & alive.

I always carry photo ID (so anyone needing to scrape me of the road knows who I am & can notify loved ones - unfortunately it's a required attitude, even did in Europe), as well as a bank card to pay my way out of trouble (flats, transport home, drink, food,...) and a phone (to call loved ones myself - including to get me out of trouble i.e. flats, transport home,...). It all fits in the saddle bag along with bare necessities for basic maintenance.

Turning right @ intersections - generally I'll go with traffic, but will also let it depend on the intersection and traffic.

Been in Sydney now a few days and have to say I'm not seeing many cyclists, maybe I'm in the wrong neighbourhood or wrong times. My last ride in Adelaide I rode from Frome St along Nth to West Tce. I actually thought of everything I've read on this forum as I was middle of the left lane, claiming everything front, back & sides of me, turned around at the hospital and came back up K William to head to Nth ADL. Only problem was at the station, a delivery van next to me took of quicker and then wanted to do a left turn, which I'd anticipated & seen, but he was doing it too slow and I had to make a snap judgment to go around him or put my foot down; I went right.

Mine, which differ slightly:

  • Plan your route; look for the quietest/safest route.
  • A painted white lane does mean a road is safe. Most major roads have less busy roads in parallel which are far safer (this goes back to planning your route).
  • Always claim the lane at roundabouts (or any other intersection without a bike lane).
  • Always wait in line (don't filter) at roundabouts (or any other intersection without a bike lane (or clear room for a bike) on the other side).
  • For a right turn at a traffic light, a hook turn (which Coppo described without using the term) is usually preferable.
  • When stopping at an intersection, wait behind other cyclists (unless there's room for two side by side). First come, first served.
  • Avoid the door zone. If it's not safe to move further right, use the footpath. It will only cost a few seconds.
  • Use the footpath if you have to, but go real slow and give way to every pedestrian, however haphazard they are.
  • On a footpath or shared path, use your bell when passing pedestrians or other cyclists. (Others call out, which is fine, but I'm never sure I'll be understood so I prefer my bell)
  • And maybe this is a "duh", but... obey traffic signals.

Eye contact...I find this almost impossible with modern day tinting...I find myself evaluating the "body language" of cars more than trying to make eye contact or trusting their indicators.

A mirror. I always miss my mirror when I ride a different bike to my commuter...spotting gaps to overtake slower cyclists or negotiate that illegally parked car in the bike lane (or political party volunteer erecting campaign posters...thanks Dana Wortley...and no putting your hazard lights on doesn't give you carte blanche to do WTFYL).

I use an italian racing mirror.


Yes I find the same thing.  I've never really mastered eye-contact through tinted windows. Best if can work out usually is if I'm looking at the back of the head that's not good.  Also a great mirror fan.  


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