I participated in BikeWalkNC (North Carolina bike & pedestrian safety advocacy org.) League of American Bicyclists (LAB) cycling traffic training late this fall in Greenville, NC, run by the LAB's very knowledgeable instructor, Steven Goodridge. Even as a decades-long roadie regular, this hound sure learned a few new tricks like:
- how to position ourselves on a bike in a lane of traffic with a safe balance between being aware of drivers and staying clear of suddenly opened car doors. As shown below - that car door distance was farther than any of us in the class anticipated.
- how to use right half of a traffic lane to be seen best by drivers. The key is taking a consistent line and not weaving in and around parked cars so that drivers can better see us and predict our cycling path. That doesn't always mean staying as far right as possible, but it sure means always paying attention to sights, sounds and feel on the road.
- what those lines etched in the road at a traffic light, as shown below, really do. Ha! I always thought they measured the weight of whatever was on top of them. Wrong. Instead, there are electric coils, known as "inductive looped traffic detectors") below those etched lines that detect the metal in objects above them, like the car you see in the photo below. Depending on the electric current, the sensitivity of which can be adjusted, those coils can detect even a carbon fiber bicycle with aluminum wheels. All bets are off, though, if you have a full carbon bike frame and wheels. The best place to position yourself on a bike - or even your car - is directly over the center line, also as shown below with the red lines and blue "X's", as that is where the coils overlap and are therefore more sensitive.
Thanks very much Steve, LAB and BikeWalkNC for putting together such a richly informative and practical training session!