Everyday life

Defensive cycling

Cycling to university = exercise.

Exercise = endorphins.

Endorphins = happy.

But, Cycling to university = happy.

Cycling to university = stress

My cycling trip doesn’t translate to the same positive glow I get from other forms of exercise like running. I suspect that’s because my cycle trips are often slightly stressful.

Even though drivers in London are quite used to cyclists, I suspect many still don’t think that cyclists have a right to the road? I practice defensive cycling. I give way to cars at narrow sections of the road, unless I deem it unsafe for them to overtake me, then I’ll move out to the lane. I give way to left turning vehicles at junctions, even if I have to wait another turn at the traffic light. I wait behind all the cars at traffic queues, even though there’s a clear space next to the first vehicle at the stop line where the parking ends. I always stop at stop lines and see if anyone’s approaching before moving off. I always expect the unexpected from pedestrians. I think I’ve rung my bell at pedestrians once. I look both ways before crossing junctions.

I don’t dress myself up like a christmas tree. I have a helmet. The Barclays bike has lights. Sometimes I wear a yellow vest. I’ve got a reflective light thing that I could attach to my bag, but I seldom do. I’m definitely not as visible as other cyclists, but I’m much more visible than lots.

I cycle defensively because I value my life and I’m not going to take any chances. I’ll do the best I can to protect myself against other not so careful road users who have the potential to cause me grave harm.

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