(Another in our ongoing series on biking in Oakland)
Wear a helmet. If you understand facts, this needs no elaboration.
Also: “People are still riding around without lights,” said Robert Prinz of Bike East Bay, “they’re so cheap and long-lasting these days there’s really no excuse.” You can keep the little elastic lights looped around your lock or in your purse or linked to your key chain. Only attach them on your bike while you’re riding because they’re easily stolen.
Bike/car collisions most commonly occur in intersections. Just under half the time the “failure to look properly” is attributed to the cyclist; in other words, it’s not just the big dumb cars causing the accidents, it’s the hubristic cyclists.
Collision commonly occur when a cyclist tries to pass to the right of a vehicle while that vehicle is trying to turn right. For that reason, Prinz advises cyclists to pass to the left of right-turning cars. Another dangerous zone is for left-turning cyclists. It’s easy for oncoming cars to not see a cyclist until the last moment because they can be blocked from view by intervening cars until the last moment.
“Less experienced bikers may want to make left turns in two parts, that is you go through the intersection from the right lane, turn your bike 90 degrees, stop and wait for the light to change going the other direction, remaining in the right lane- not crosswalk- the whole time.” Or if you are at one of the notoriously god-awful intersections like San Pablo and 19th or 27th and Harrison, you may just want to hop off and do it like a pedestrian.
Common collision moments also happen when biking through a roundabouts and when entering the street from the sidewalk, so take extra precaution then.
“The key is being assertive without being aggressive,” says Prinz. Cyclists have the same rights as cars. No less, no more. That means you are entitled to take a lane if the street is too narrow to keep to the right while maintaining distance from door zone. It means you’re allowed to block the left lane while waiting for an opportunity to turn left. It also means you’re not allowed to weave through pedestrians crossing, bike on the sidewalk, or bike against traffic.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Live Work Oakland’s bike series is brought to you by Hot Italian, the first LEED Certified pizza & panini bar and the first bicycle friendly restaurant in California, open daily 11:30 a until late night with weekend brunch, cocktails, wi-fi, curbside pick-up, and delivery by bike from Emeryville’s Public Market. HOT ITALIAN is a design-driven brand where modern Italy meets urban California and a 2014 East Bay Bike Bike-Friendly business winner.
VISIT HOT ITALIAN AT THE PUBLIC MARKET Open daily 11:30 am & weekend brunch 10:30 am-3:30 pm 5959 Shellmound Street, Emeryville, CA 94608 (510) 922-1369