Five Layers of Crash Prevention

Rachel Ruhlen of the Kirksville Daily Express posted a summary of the "Five Layers of Crash Prevention"--a basic approach to bicycling every cyclist should know about: 

Biking to work
Biking to work

1. Control your bike. . . . Allow an arm’s length between yourself and the edge of the road, to avoid debris and unexpected obstacles like animals.

2. Obey the law. 

3. Discourage drivers’ mistakes. . . . A key concept is to control the lane with an assertive lane position, which also makes you more visible to drivers.

4. Avoid drivers’ mistakes.

5. Wear a helmet. Practicing the four principles above prevents over 90% of bike wrecks. The helmet can save your life for the few you can’t avoid. . . .

If I were to advocate only one practice that would make bicyclists safer, the way some people latch onto helmets, I would choose “lane position”. Ride on the right side of the road (in the direction of traffic), but not at the far edge. Keeping a healthy space between you and the right curb is the majority of the First and Third Principles of Crash Prevention.

Read Ruhlen's article for more details about each of the five layers of crash prevention.

More about bicycle skills from the League of American Bicyclists.

Much more on our Safety and Skills page.

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