Outside magazine, March 1995
City cyclists have an attitude problem," says Sergeant Richard Green, a bicycle patrol officer in Santa Barbara, California. "They think, 'Look at us, we're not polluting!' and then blast through a red light without a thought." According to Green, this reckless approach is the cause of most catastrophes. "Not to say the car contingent is innocent," he adds, "but with a 30-pound bike facing a car that weighs over a ton, the concept of right of way is a joke." Here's Green's decidedly humble strategy for safer urban riding.
Make Eye Contact: "You can be smack in front of drivers and they'll look right through you. If you think there's any chance that they didn't see you, swallow your pride and let them go first."
Allow No Surprises: "Keep your eyes focused far out in front -- potholes, debris, slippery metal gratings, and other road hazards have a tendency to sneak up on you."
Beware The Parked Car: "I've almost bought it several times when drivers have hurled their doors open in front of me. If you see a door opening, give a loud yell, and then look over your left shoulder to make sure you have room to move out into the road. If you don't, get ready to lock 'em up."
Be Punctual, Or Make His Day: "Do you know how many bicyclists say that the reason they jammed through a red is because they're late for something? Do they think I care? I say, 'Why didn't you leave ten minutes earlier, buster?' and then I write up a ticket."