The safety of a bike lane depends partly on how the lane is designed, and also on how cyclists use it. Bike lanes are traffic lanes; they still require that you pay attention, follow the rules, and make smart decisions. Here are some things to keep in mind.
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One of the most common fears among new street cyclists is getting hit from behind by an overtaking motor vehicle. Many of our students cite this as a major reason for not riding their bikes to work. For others, this fear leads to riding against traffic in order to see what’s coming. Bad idea! Not only is this illegal, it’s much more dangerous. Here’s how to conquer your fear.
Riding with lights when it’s dark makes cyclists much more visible and gives other traffic much more time to see and react to you. Don’t just depend on street-lighting to help you see in the dark; use lights and reflective gear to help others see you. In fact, biking without lights at night is against the law, and for good reason: It makes the cyclist invisible, putting them and others in danger.
While the best way to foil bike thieves—and make no mistake, NYC is full of ‘em, unfortunately—is to avoid leaving your bike locked up in public for more than a few minutes, that’s not always possible.