Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Riding My Trike in Traffic

**Riding My Trike in Traffic**
This morning when I flipped open my computer to write, what popped up was the discussion forum on Bentrider
Online, the recumbent website that I frequent several times per day. Yesterday, I posted some thoughts about riding my recumbent trike safely (as safely as possible) in traffic. Here is what I said:
*I have been riding my trike (Vortex +) for two years without incident. Here are my preferences:
—Ride away from traffic as much as possible. I mostly train on my trike and don't use the trike as a commuter or to just get from point A to point B. I have a few tried and true routes that I use continually for training. Some have light traffic, but none have heavy traffic. I am not hesitant to load my trike into my van and drive to a safe place to ride.
—When in traffic, I constantly check my mirrors, ride to the right in heavier traffic that is moving fast, but will take the center of the lane when I can when approaching intersections. Intersections are the highest risk. I never go through one unless it is completely clear, even at the risk of delaying the car behind me. In any situation where cars may turn right or left in front of me, I am especially vigilant.
—Stay ultra visible. I use bright flashing Dinotte lights front and rear. In heavier traffic, I usually bring the flag along too.
Trikes are, IMO, more stable and more maneuverable in traffic than two wheelers. Stopping and starting is much easier. If I have to ride with traffic around, I prefer the trike.
My subjective judgement is that all forms of bike/trike have about the same level of risk, but, as I said, I feel more in control on a trike. The key determinant is the skill and awareness of the rider.*
One of the other posters said this:
*Yes we have a passing law here in Illinois too but trying getting it enforced after the person is already gone or you have been run off the road into a ditch.
I think there are a lot of great comments in the thread as well, but as other posters have said, your safety is always going to be up to you. There really is no "SAFE" so to speak, only "Safer Practices!" We are just like doctors who are practicing medicine, we hope that someday we will get it right! That is why we call it practice.
Unfortunately in today's world, drinking and driving isn't bad enough, now we have texting and driving.*
Bottom line is that there will always be safety issues when riding any bicycle or tricycle with traffic around. Our safety is largely up to us, and there will always be the danger of actions by motorists that put us at risk.

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