This unlucky bicyclist could not have made himself much more visible to drivers had he worn antlers on his head and a flashing sign that said, "Don't Hit Me!" The driver, whom we sued, testified in her deposition that she felt that her minivan's internal roof support beam obscured her vision of the cyclist. This was an awfully lame excuse. If she could not see adequately in the direction of her turn she should have slowed down, stopped, craned her neck or have done whatever else it took to proceed with full view of what was in her vehicle's path. The point, however, is that motorists often just do not see people on bikes. You should always ride as if you are invisible. Assume that motorists will not see you and try not to let accident avoidance be dependent upon your being noticed by drivers. Here is how:
- Ride with front and rear lights at night. This is a no-brainer. Lights at night (red in the back and white or yellow in the front) will announce your presence in the clearest possible manner. In Illinois, riding with a light also happens to be the law.
- Pick a route with wide streets and less traffic. Bike riding in the city is about fun, physical fitness and reducing your carbon footprint. It is not so much about getting somewhere fast. Take the longer, safer route where there are fewer cars and more room to ride outside the flow of traffic.
- Don't do weird stuff. Motorists will anticipate your presence more in some places than in others. They will anticipate your presence less, and will be slow to notice you, if you are riding against the flow of traffic, zipping through a parking lot, riding in the middle of the road following a sharp curve, or coming off of a side walk. Be predictable, and be safe.