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How to Not Get Hit by Cars

I wanted to thank you for the great information about bike safety.  I read this every season when I get my bike out and it reminds me of the important things to keep notice of.  I've found myself guilty of a few violations as well as stupidly thinking "I am in the right" (but the car is much bigger than me and will cause more damage).  I thank you for the advise, tips suggestions and can't believe that you receive comments about "stupid advice". -- Cindy, Canada, May 2006

I have managed to survive two years of bike commuting as my only transportation year-round here in Florida.  I have avoided many many bad situations by NOT riding in FRONT of cars waiting to pull out from a driveway or cross street unless I make complete eye contact with the driver. I have resigned myself to riding BEHIND the car, even when it is an inconvenience.  If there are two cars waiting, the second car always sees me cross in front of them.  The drivers here in Florida generally don't see bikes as real traffic entities, and pulling in front of a waiting car is very risky.  I also tend to want to allow cars to take the right of way, if there is any conflict, even when I clearly have the right of way I wave them ahead. Better to be slowed down and alive, then dead right! THANKS for a great and informative site! - John Malloy, Florida

Singapore is a small island republic/city situated in the South China Sea with a population of about 4 million. Like any other city in the world, the volume of vehicular traffic is large.

I have been commuter cycling for the past 20 some years in Singapore and have put much of what I read in Effective Cycling into practise.

There was one occasion however when, in spite of doing things "by the (EC) book", I had a head-on prang with a car. Luckily, the driver managed to stop the the car just before I made contact with the front fender as this reduced impact substantially and left me with just some bruising.

Now, I was totally in the right and the driver totally in the wrong as she was, while overtaking another vehicle, on my side of the road at the point of impact. But you know what ? She wasn't the one aching next day.

This incident raises the following points: - (1) that a bicycle is not a car; (2) that following the law doesn't always keep you safe because there will be others who break the law and place you in a life threatening situation; (3) being visible and predictable sometimes doesn't work in your favour.

I'm not trying to rubbish EC but I am saying that your website is a great place in which to moderate that which is propounded by EC. You may even save some lives in the process. Keep up the good work! Regards, ~Rodney F Hogan, Singapore, Mar. 2006

I took my bike out for the first time today and rode it to work. I rode essentially the same route I use when I drive and ended up on a familiar but busy street. I got home safely but I felt uncomfortable about the ride. So I decided to look on the net for safety info. After reading your site I realized that I made several mistakes on my very short ride to work.

When I take my bike to work again I will make a couple changes. First I will find a less trafficked route and second I will make myself more visible to other drivers. Reading that sometimes it is necessary to take the whole lane was helpful. That is what I should have done today, but did not. I'll know better next time. Thank you so much for the great site and for caring enough to build it. I learned a lot. -- Dixie Schopp, Mar. 2006

I have managed to survive two years of bike commuting as my only transportation year-round here in Florida.  I have avoided many many bad situations by NOT riding in FRONT of cars waiting to pull out from a driveway or cross street unless I make complete eye contact with the driver. I have resigned myself to riding BEHIND the car, even when it is an inconvenience.  If there are two cars waiting, the second car always sees me cross in front of them.  The drivers here in Florida generally don't see bikes as real traffic entities, and pulling in front of a waiting car is very risky.  I also tend to want to allow cars to take the right of way, if there is any conflict, even when I clearly have the right of way I wave them ahead. Better to be slowed down and alive, then dead right! THANKS for a great and informative site! - John Malloy, Florida, Feb. 2006

Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for a great, informative website. I have just taken up commuter cycling in the UK after 10 years of driving. Although I've got some road instincts from driving, there's so much you just don't consider when taking to the bike. "How to Not Get Hit by Cars" has made me think much more about what I'm doing on the roads while cycling, so, in brief... thanks! -- Robert Schofield, Jan. 2006

Your website is great. I started bike commuting last week and had the bejesus scared out of me by some cars. The info your site is logical and effective. -- Chris, Aug. 2005

I can't believe it. I grew up in TX, lived and cycled in Austin for 10 years and i just today found your site. Now I live in London.  I've been surrounded here by ECers and didn't even know where they were getting this hatred for bike lanes. I've cycled in Amsterdam and I don't see how anyone could and not realize that segregation is the only way to go. You get a great sense in Amsterdam of each lane accomodating the peculiarities of its occupants -- trams, cars, cyclists and pedestrians all moving in the way that comes most naturally to them and each knowing when and where to look for what. In the absence of bike lanes your tips are right on the money and have refocused my attention. Thanks and keep doing exactly what you're doing. -- Adam, London, England, Aug. 2005

I'm 15, a boy scout, and have completed the bicycling merit badge. I love to bike all over my town and the towns neighboring it. My dad made me get one of those vets a few months back and boy am I glad I have since noticed that cars do see me much better, but there still are the few on their cells not paying attention. Your tips are wonderful. I haven't been hit by a car yet though I have had me close calls and I plan to follow all of your suggestions. -- Max Lu, Oct. 2004

Great site! I just started riding again for the first time in about 15 years, and your site answered several questions. -- Steve Oglesby, Sept. 2004

When I started commuting through Atlanta four months ago, I found and studied your remarkable and helpful website. Despite my extra caution, however, I am now typing this one-handed due to a fractured collarbone and back injuries I suffered when cut off by a driver who tried a right hook on me.

It was 5:30 AM and dark. I have a good headlight and blinking multi led taillight, and reflective stripe on my trunk bag and blinking yellow led on my helmet back. The accident scene was brightly lit from above with many Sodium Vapor streetlights.

I had a green light and was making a left turn from the left turn-only lane of a four-lane intersection. Two cars idled at red lights to my right. As I entered the intersection I heard a car approach me from behind. Since I was in a left only lane I was surprised that as the car overtook me on my left it also veered suddenly to the right. The action was so surprising and close that I had no choice but to lock the brakes and end-over the trunk as the car passed in front of me. (This maneuver definitely kept me from winding up under the front of the car which did not stop.) After a particularly violent landing in the middle of the intersection, I recall using my good arm to unclip my right foot and watching the car stop at the other side of the intersection then speed away. A hit and run. The two witnesses to this accident wasted no time driving around me in the middle of intersection when their light turned green so they could continue their trips uninterrupted.

I guess that the moral of this story is to be prepared for a car driver to go way out of the lane in order to hit you. Make an assumption that a car passing you from behind is going to turn at you. What will you do? -- Kevin Snedden, Sept. 2004

I learned the hard way that sidewalk riding can give bicyclists the illusion that they are pseudo-pedestrians. I was very lucky to come away with only a wrist fracture when I failed to stop and was invisible to the car turning in front of me. Safest approach if you choose to ride on sidewalks is to stop at all intersections or dismount [or not ride on the sidewalk at all]. Thanks for great information; I'll be passing it along. -- Bill, Aug. 2004

I formerly commuted by bicycle and after a several year hiatus will be able to do so again with a new job -- your page was a marvelous review of what I had learned over many years of riding.   I was hit only once in several years of riding -- I was crossing an empty parking lot in the designated lanes early in the morning and she was cutting across it at a 45 degree angle AND putting on makeup while driving.  I now avoid parking lots or only ride the perimeters.  Most of my near misses have been in residential areas where the auto drivers do not follow the law and only slow down for stop signs -- your suggestions in the "Right Cross" have saved me on numerous occasions particularly those of moving left when possible and without eye contact slow down significantly.  Marvelous website; thank-you for the information. -- Martin Johnson, Aug. 204

I am so appreciative of your website and making bicycle safety information so easily accessible. Your site is concise, logical, offers visual aids, and extremely effective. You have likely saved countless lives and injuries by your generous contributions. I have bicycled for quite a bit and still learned many things from your website that I will immediately incorporate. My deepest gratitude! -- Steve, Aug. '04

I've spent some 25 years riding in cities and towns, and eventually managed to figure out most of the things you suggest on my own without serious mishaps. But your logical and direct advice is an excellent way for many riders to fast-forward their safety skills, and for experienced riders to refresh their thinking on safety. Riders should recommend your site to others and even review your solid advice every year or so. The suggestions you give have prevented many accidents over the years for me. Very well done. -- David Hearth
San Francisco, July 2004

Your advice is right on. After 10 years of commuting, I have come to the same conclusions you have, but I've never been able to sum it up so concisely. Great work. -- Chad Schneider, July 2004



Hey, thank you for this wonderful site on bicycle safety and for the 10 straightforward tips you give to make riding a safer experience. I ride in Sofia, Bulgaria, a very crowded city, where most of the lanes are not marked and parking regulations are not enforced. In the crowded atmosphere of a busy European city your advice is indispensible and I wish more people here had access to such information. Unfortunately, cyclists are the last concern of the local government right now, so your site proves truly useful. -- Issidor Iliev, Sofia, Bulgaria, May 2004

I have been bicycling for 39 years. The information in this web site is excellent. -- Gerald Ross, May 2004

I read with great interest all your good advice for safe bicycling. You cannot more exact in your analysis on the traffic patterns and motorists behaviours. -- Jacques Cote, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, May 2004

I just want to thank you for your website. I am a new cyclist (two months--but have already completed my first MS 150), and I am preparing myself for commuting to work by bike -- a necessity. I have read all the traffic laws, but many points, such as the sticky situations you describe, were ambiguous to me. The director of my company's Wellness Program directed me to your site, and thank goodness she did so. The prose is crystal clear, and the diagrams are extremely helpful--they make all the difference! -- Amy G., Austin, Apr. 2004

Just read your safety tips. Thanks alot! Am gonna start bike commuting and it can be scary. The other night I was riding home without lights and I thought, damn, I'm stupid.. Will get a light ASAP. Keep up the good work! -- Kareima, Los Angeles, Apr. 2004

As an elementary teacher and a physical education teacher, I've seen first hand the result of adults and children who ignore the reality of getting hit by motor vehicles.  Your site is going to be a spring time addition to my curriculum this year and every year to come.  Thanks! -- Rob Stewart, Johnson Elementary, Taylor, Michigan, Apr. 2004

First let me say, I love your site.  I'm an avid cyclist, Cross Country Bicycle Tour Leader, and certified LAB Effective Cycling Instructor.  ...  I think your site is right on and your points are definitely well thought out and practical.  I especially like your points made about safety and law.  I will add your context to the principles I teach in the EC course, I think they supplement rather than conflict. ... Thanks for doing a great job with your site.  It's informative, well laid out, and thought provoking... -- Mike Munk,, LCI 579, Mar. 2004

I am a teacher in a small Christian school and will be teaching about bicycle safety soon. Your site is wonderful, with very easy to understand graphics for my young students. I also ride a motorcycle with a group. The safety course we took to obtain our license endorsements show very similar situations as the ones you show on your website, with the only extra problem being the extra speed that a motorcyclist would be experiencing. The real-life encounters are exactly the same as those on a bicycle. We also are constantly working for more safety-conscious drivers to be watching for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists who are sharing the road with 4-or-more-wheeled vehicles. Thanks for the clear instructions and graphics. I plan to let others in our group know of your site to study as the riding season gears up. --Sheryl Wilkerson, Mar. 2004

I have been cycling for 2 years in Baton Rouge. I first learned how to operate in traffic by reading your webpage and continue to spread the good news to my friends. You have a very poignant manner of tackling the collision issues which makes the page a nice learning tool. I am now a somewhat experienced cyclist, and I have connections in the cycling/safety advocacy world. I have actually met people who said they knew you. Not only do I like your page, but I like your style of presenting other peoples views without calling them stupid. Its a virtue to have equanimity and to be able to discuss conflicting views without being impudent.

I am actually an LCI [Leauge Cycling Instructor], but still remember riding a Huffy 5 miles on the sidewalk to the store when I was 18 or so,; 5 years ago. Since I was from the Louisiana countryside I had no idea what a road bike, cycling, bicycle jerseys, derailleurs, or any of that stuff was. Our planning commission (CRPC-Capital Regional Planning Commisssion) planned a map for Baton Rouge. I didn't like all the ascpects of the map, so I did my own bicycle map (still in digital drafting stages) for Baton Rouge and included a reference and to Effective Cycling. In the meantime I will try to teach my fellow roadies not be so snobby and obstinate. Thank you.-- Michael Ohene, LCI #1125, Mar. '04

On behalf of the Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona, I want to express my thanks to you for allowing us to reprint your web article on How to Not Get Hit by Cars in its entirety for our "Boeing Bike to Work Day" event. The distribution of adult bike safety information is important to our company program as 4.2% of our employees choose to commute to work by bike. Thank you for generously sharing this excellent article in the public domain. -- Barbara L. Disser, Mar. '04

I was reading about some of the issues you've had with EC fanatics, and just wanted to add my $.02. Having taken a motorcycle safety course from MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation), I can say that many of the same safety measures you advocate are exactly like those of a motorcycle.  Of course the main difference is an engine and motorcycle can move with traffic, but all the visibility problems remain.  At the MSF class the instructor stressed that the motorcycle is not equal to the car, for all the same reasons you stressed a bike is not similar to a car.  Even in regards to breaking the law; if you're in a sticky situation in traffic, and accelerating and blowing by the speed limit to get out of the situation is the best option, then by all means break the limit and stay alive.

Anyways, my point is that a motorcycle is much more similar to a car than a bicycle, and all the same behaviors are stressed, the key being to ride like you're invisible, and use your differences to your advantage when it makes sense for being safe.  I'd think any reasonable person would agree a motorcycle is more like a car than a bike, but then I suppose the EC folks just wouldn't agree with the MSF. Again, great site, thanks for maintaining it! -- John Shiftlett, Mar. '04

Dear Mr. Bluejay, 

    I was looking for information on how to fix a flat tire, and found it. But that's not really why I'm writing this email. I'm writing to thank you. My son got a new bike for Christmas and has been pestering me to take him on rides or run errands, anything to get out on his bike. I have been apprehensive about doing this because I know how easy it is to get plowed over. I read through your safety tips for the real world and realized this would help my son a great deal. While this isn't going to stop the psychotic maniacs (people who don't think two wheels are legitimate forms of transportation, and need to be irradiated) out there, it helps to know how to avoid the avoidable, and take measures to increase our visibility and safety while on the road. These things are not typically discussed in bike safety. The diagrams helped me show my son what you were talking about. I just wanted to thank you for the effort you put into your site.What a huge help! I'm off to buy some flashy lights, a basket and a patch kit so we can get back on to our bikes. A grateful mom, Kate Wallenberg, Monroe, Washington , Jan. '04

Excellent! Thank you for providing such wonderful information! I am the designated ride leader for a group of about 25 people every Wednesday eve here in St. Louis Missouri. I intend to use your safety guidelines as mandatory reading for my group. -- Paul Moskovitz,, Dec. '03

Your approach to bicycle safety seems much more common sensical than does that of the Effective Cycling crowd. Stick to your guns! Dogmatism and inflexibility never got anyone anywhere (except nowhere!). --Jeremy Steinbacher, Cornell University, Nov. '03
I have been commuting to work year round for several years, and have come to many of the same conclusions you have. You put things very clearly, and there are a few points I hadn't thought of--thank you! I'm going to pass this info around. --Ron Grosslein, Amherst, MA , Nov. '03

Thanks for "How Not to Get Hit By Cars." Lifesavingly good. -- Scott Banks, Nov '03

What a really great site. I have been riding competitively for 10 years now and whilst a lot of your info is plain old common sense it does need to be spelt out to remind us all how vulnerable we are on the roads. Thanks for a really great site. -- Ian, New Zealand, Oct. '03

I want to thank you for the excellent advice on safe cycling. These are lessons everyone should learn before they hit the road. -- Joseph Brajkovich, June '03

Thank you for your "How Not to Get Hit" tips. The site is an excellent resource and made me think twice about the way I cycle. I am going to forward it to all of my friends! -- Anna, June '03

My husband printed out your article "How Not to Get Hit by Cars" for me. I've only been riding for two years and I am sure I have a lot to learn.  I love to ride my bike and am increasingly aware of how many near misses I have.  I'd come to a conclusion that getting hit by a car was inevitable, that it was just going to happen.  But after reading your website, I feel better prepared and that I might have a better chance of many happy years of cycling without getting hit.  Thanks, I think you added a few years to my life! -- Julie Metge, Feb. '03

I just finished reading through your bicycle safe information and wanted to let you know that it is very nicely presented and great information.... Just wanted to reinforce the nice work you have done. Keep up the good work. -- Brian Lewis, Feb. '03

Just a short note to say what an excellent website on what a cyclist ought to know about using the road and safety. Even though I have been riding a bike for many years and thank God I have never had an accident, the information you present is an eye-opener to all, even the experienced riders - there is no room for error. Keep it up. -- Julian Curmi, Malta, Europe, Feb. '03


For over 30 years now I have been using the bicycle as main city transportation means in various countries and I very much agree with nearly everything in your text. Your advice on bicycle safety deserves being read by all those who are afraid of riding a bicycle amid city traffic, and that means the large majority of the population. Your advice also deserves being read by all beginner cyclists, including those who do not fear motorized traffic. --Martin Dupont, Madrid, Spain, Feb. '03

Splendid! I have been commuting to work year round for several years, and have come to many of the same conclusions you have. You put things very clearly, and there are a few points I hadn't thought of--thank you! I'm going to pass this info around. --Ron Grosslein, Amherst, MA

I would like to say that your site is absolutely terrific. From the title to the last word, it is logical, sensible, and utterly devoted to what should be every cyclist's number-one priority: avoiding death and injury. Way to go! -- Phil Hickey, Boulder, CO

This is the BEST information on cycle safety! I have been commuting to work on my bicycle for about ten years.  I have come to learn (the hard way) the information you provide on your page.  Fortunately, I have not been seriously injured.  ALL of that information is absolutely correct.  Yet, I see the same commuters (seasoned regulars!) making the same mistakes discribed in your site every day!

I am printing copies to cary with me to distribute to those who look like they need them.  I have also listed your site on my favorites to give to those I convert to cycling in the future.  In addition to providing blinking lights and mirrors, I would like to see bike shops include this information with every bike they sell. Thank you for taking the time to provide life saving information for all of us!  -- Patti Angevine,   Seattle, WA, Jan. '03

I just wanted to say your site is great. The ten tips are excellent. I am a new cyclist and was trolling for information and your site was one of the best I found. Keep up the good work! -- Ross Barclay, 11-02
I love the BicycleSafe website. It's very straightforward and clear. You've done something terrific here so give yourself a real pat on the back. -- Richard Vallens, Irvine CA, 10-02

I saw your web page about bike safety and I felt I had to write. My son, Brendan Batson, was killed on May 26 when a car hauling a stock car hit him in Norridgewock, Maine. Your web page is SO right on. My son took all the precautions you wrote, yet because of the carelessness of the driver, he was killed. The driver was inches from him and honked his horn. We still do not have the details, but it looks like it was harassment. They still have not even made a decision if they are going to charge the man who hit and killed my son, even though he admitted at the scene to speeding and to having "a few beers" earlier in the day.

His story is supposed to be in the New York Times this weekend or next. Brendan left a sister and baby brother who will never know him. He was training for a 200 mile bike run for Make a Wish (a trip he organized all on his own). My husband and I do not want his death to mean nothing, and if getting the word out can help another parent from losing their child, then that is what I want. Brendan died needlessly and the word has to be out to bikers and motorists about the need to Share the Road and to respect one another. I hope you continue to get the word out. -- Yvonne Batson, Norridgewock, ME, 7-02

Thank you for your excellent site! Some of the best advice I've seen! -- Paul Tobiason, Wisconsin, 2-02

After a thorough search on bicycle safety material on the web, I was lucky to find your very well designed website. I work for a steel mill company in Brasil and will be making a presentation on bike safety to our workers, as the town we are in has a large relative number of cyclists and there have been a number of accidents involving bicycles. As the lecture is intended to be given to the factory workers (most of whom do not have even a high school degree equivalent), it would be nice to make a ilustrative and visual presentation to make the topics easier to understand. I will be using the drawings of your website as part of that presentation. -- Daniel Trindade, Mechanical Engineer, ACESITA Stainless Steel Cold Rolling, 7-01
I would like to say that your site is absolutely terrific. From the title to the last word, it is logical, sensible, and utterly devoted to what should be every cyclist's number-one priority: avoiding death and injury. Way to go! -- Phil Hickey, Boulder, CO 6-01

I'm saved! I have got to tell all my friends about this site! (Both biking and non-biking.) Seriously, great advice and great graphics. I am going to try to get our club webmaster to link to you. -- Gerry Maron Carolina Cyclers; Palmetto Cycling Coalition, 3-01

Thanks for this very useful article with its "real life" take on bicycle traffic strategies. I am downloading this for a charity ride of 1000+ riders of 150 riders over two days; we are looking for all relevant safety literature for the informational newsletters leading up to the date of this event in June. Thanks for a very professional job -- John Sisson, Edmonton Bicycle & Touring Club, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2-01

Your "How not to get hit by cars" graphic looks great..., nice link to a great page. And let me say this again after surfing your web-site again the other night: Fantastic work! Keep up the good job. You do our entire community a great service! Thank you! --Eric Anderson, 12-5-00

I found your site to be great info! I bike commute often and I'm constantly balancing my rights to the road and my right to life. Your piece is a refreshing, accurate account of the latter. I've already been doing most of the things you point out, and find it a great referrence to send to pals who are curious but cautious about bike commuting. -- John Schmitt, 10-17-00

Per your permission I have used some of your bicycle safety information under our DARE page for our kids to look at. Your site is excellent! ... Thanks for the great safety information! -- Sgt. Steven G. Johnson, St. Clair County Sheriff's Dept., 9-18-00

I am from the Washington, D.C. area (Springfield, Virginia) and I want to thank you for your web site. Beautiful and to the point. - Margolea, 7-13-00

I've just looked over your safety advice, and I LIKE it! I've asked John Anderson, our webmaster at BicyclingLife, about linking to your page--it would be a good thing to do. I like your clear diagrams, and your clear explanations. At times they may seem a bit long-winded, but you cover a lot of information, and do it even-handedly--good job! -- Bob Boyce, 7-12-00
I am the Vice-President of the Waco Bicycle Club. After reading your article, I sent a link to the President of the Club. He asked me if I wished to do a presentation on this subject and I told him that I would, but after thinking about it, was wondering if you would be interested in coming to Waco and giving the presentation? I believe we both can agree that you would do a much better job than I on the subject. -- Paul Brewer, 7-11
Thank you for the kind words. I'm afraid my schedule precludes me from speaking at your meeting, but that shouldn't discourage you from doing the presentation yourself! :)

I think your safety tips are great. I realized some of the mistakes I've been making while riding on the streets of Portland. I've had a few close calls and I think your tips will help me out. -- Sessionsbg, 5-22-00

I thought that your piece on how to avoid cars was brilliant. By any chance have you done a copy for countries that drive on the left, as it takes a bit of reading to understand it and convert it at the same time. I think it would also be useful to others if you have.

Yours, Des Sequoyah, dez.gill(at), Bike Mechanic, ACTION BIKES, Crawley, Sussex, UK, 5-4-00

Ed. Note: That's a really splendid idea, but I'm afraid I'm not going to have time to work on that. I've already got 825 emails in my In Box right now and it's impossible to keep up. But since I freely give reprint permission, hopefully some Euro-oriented persion will create a Euro-oriented site based on my American one.

Just wanted to say I LOVE your bicycle safety page. I especially enjoyed your brief tirade about all the rabidly self-righteous EC instructors. -- anonymous Senior Transportation Planner in California.
I needed information on bicycle safety to teach a boy scout group safe cycling. Your website was great. Not only did it have great information but the pictures will help wonderfully. Thanks again for the website. Sincerely, Paige, Kansas Cyclist, 2-27-00

Date: 10/05/99

Just finished reading and printing your great web site on bike safety. Super work, very direct and to the point. In my job, I do a lot of this kind of thing and would very much like your permission to use your material. Of course you will get credit for it. I have been planning for some time a series of cards showing common crash situations and what to do to avoid them. You've beaten me to the punch (ha) and done it better than I could.

Bruce Mackey,
ECI #546KC
State Education Officer
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
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