Defensive Biking

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Typically, when I am out on the streets with my bike, I ride defensively. What does that mean, well I basically make drivers know that I am there. If I have to yell or scream to get their attention I will. It could easily come off that I am jerk. What chops my hide is when I have my kids biking with me, and motorist threaten their safety…ooooh man that makes me so friggin’ mad! Sorry..need to focus here.

Do you find that riding defensively is the best way to go? Or is being courteous more effective in the concrete jungle?

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0 thoughts on “Defensive Biking”

  1. Warren says:

    I think I ride more offensively than defensively, but my goal is very simply to make myself known to distracted drivers. Most people turn off their brain when they turn on their cars. You have to be proactive in how you ride to head off certain disaster.

    I find it easier to get myself noticed at night – I use my HID light (helmet mounted), so I can look right at the guy who’s thinking about pulling out in front of me in the upcoming intersection.

    Getting noticed during the daylight hours is a bit harder. I always wear two extra-bright blinkies; one in front and one behind. I usually try to wear bright clothing as well.

    The most important things when sharing the road: STAY ALERT and leave extra room for the motorists to do stupid things.

    I have screamed at the top of my lungs when everything else fails.

  2. Randy says:

    When on a bike you need to be both defensive and offensive. Always expect a motorist to cut you off or do something crazy because they don’t see you. That way you wouldn’t be caught off guard. For some reason bicycles or even motorcycles become invisible on the other side of the windshield.
    It is so easy to loose your bearing when a car cuts you off and puts you and your kids in danger. Keep in mind that when you voice your opinion your children will hear what you say. So as hard as it sounds, keep it clean.

  3. alberto says:

    Good post. I always drive defensively and never trust ANY driver. That’s not because all drivers are bad or evil, but simply because it is the nature of the game for people to make mistakes. As drivers ourselves I think we know that it is easy to become distracted. In fact, I think cycling has made me a better car driver. And, as you say, when I’m with the kids it’s much the worse. I’m just scared shitless. But I still think we can be defensive, aggressive at times, but not necessarily discourteous. Just always alert.

  4. Nick says:

    I define defensive riding (and defensive driving, back when I had a car) not as getting attention, but as being prepared for the other driver to make a mistake, essentially, thinking for the other people on the road, because they might not be.

    I holler, but mostly at jaywalking pedestrians – if you make a lot of noise as you approach, they will usually notice and get out of your way. I don’t know if yelling at cars is a good idea here. It’s like smiling at a baboon – your intentions might be good, but they’ll see it as a challenge.

  5. Moe says:

    One of the skills that I have acquired as a bike commuter is an increase of awareness of my surroundings. I’m always trying to think of what motorists or pedestrians may do next. I also use hand signals and wave to motorists that have given me the right of way. I find that if you respect drivers, most of them will give respect back.

  6. Lani says:

    I have a defensive mentality once the kids and I are on the road. Mind you that we ride our bikes within a 2 mile radius (Novice riders). I have noticed though that car drivers are aware of us. Many have slowed down, some even wait for us (way ahead)if we need to cross an intersection. Then there are some who just give us a look. The pity look or the annoyed look. So whatever looks will come across us I feel that I have to be defensive all the time.

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