5 Ways to Cycle Safely in the City


Turn with Caution

It's one thing to navigate city traffic moving straight forward, but sooner or later most bikers will want to change directions. Right turns are easy enough, assuming that you 're moving with traffic and traveling on a bike lane, shoulder or the far right lane (unless you're Lance Armstrong, you're likely the "slow" traffic and should stay to the right). Left turns, on the other hand, are a whole 'nother ball of chain fluid.

There are two ways to approach a left turn: like a pedestrian; and like a car. The first method is simple. Stop at the intersection at which you want to turn (make sure you're out of the way of traffic), wait for the light to change and use the crosswalk. Then merge back onto the street [source: NYC DOT].

The car method requires a little more skill and maneuvering. The steely resolve of a high stakes poker player also won't hurt wither. From the right lane, decrease your speed and look over your shoulder for a clearing in traffic. Double-check, and move to the far left lane once the coast is clear [source: NYC DOT].

Most bikes don't come with automatic turn signals, so you will have to let others know that you intend to hang a left the old fashioned way. To signal a left turn, simply extend your left arm at shoulder level [source: NYC DOT].

While the good folks at National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances advise that bikers can signal a right turn by making an "L" with your left arm, it's likely that some motorists may not be familiar with the hand signals section of the Uniform Vehicle Code. Instead, try simply extending your right arm to advise others when you are about to make a right [source: NYC DOT].