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Avoiding Crashes and Accidents on Your Bike

Top Cycling Situations to Avoid

When you choose to ride your bicycle over a car, you’re not only helping the
environment, but you’re keeping healthy as well. Unfortunately, cycling can be
dangerous when riding alongside motorists. A mash-up between a car and a bicycle
never ends favorably for the cyclist. I grew up riding my bike on dirt back roads in
Maine and had to completely to change the way I rode when I moved to Boston in
2011. Here are some of the most dangerous situations cyclists can avoid to prevent
crashes.

1. Getting doored
This crash happens when a motorist opens the door to his vehicle without looking
behind him to make sure a cyclist is approaching. This situation is one of the most
deadly because there’s no time to brake or react, and if you do veer to avoid the
door, you may ride right into an oncoming car.
The only way to truly prevent getting doored is by riding safely away from parked
cars, even if that means riding outside of the bicycle lane. The average car door is 5’
long, so 4’ should be enough space between you and cars. A good rule of thumb is if
you can touch the mirror, you’re too close.
Not that it’s much consolation if you’re hit, but in nearly every state, the law is on
your side. Drivers are required to check behind them before exiting vehicles to
ensure the safety of other motorists and bicyclists.

2. The “right hook”
This is another very common one—You’re riding along in the right lane, and a car
next to you tries to turn right, sideswiping or hitting you.
There are a few ways to attempt to prevent this crash (I say “attempt” because
there’s no real way to stop a careless motorist). Again, you should ride loud and
proud in the middle of your lane. This will not allow motorists to attempt to skirt by
you. You can also invest in a handlebar or helmet mirror. This allows you to see cars
approaching with intent to turn—If a motorist is as about to turn right, you can
move even farther to the left-hand side of the lane to eliminate any chances of him
trying to get ahead of you. Unfortunately, many drivers aren’t apt to use turn signals
to begin with, which leads you to your last-ditch option:
The quick turn. This maneuver allows you to turn sharply right along with the
motorist instead of getting hit. The League of American Bicyclists goes over the
quick turn in its Smart Cycling classes, but you could always practice on your own in
a parking lot.

3. Getting rear-ended
This is the most common fear of cyclists, but it actually doesn’t happen too often.
When it does happen, it may be due to one of two reasons: You didn’t ride
“predictably,” or you were hard to see.
An easy way to avoid getting rear-ended is to not weave in and out of empty parking
spots. It’s very tempting to get to the far right when you get a breakaway to let
motorists pass if you’re not moving as fast as traffic, but this is setting you up for
disaster when you eventually need to merge back into traffic when you approach a
parked car.
As far a visibility goes, in nearly every state, a bicycle is required to have a red rear
reflector that’s visible from 500 feet away at night. If you’re riding at night, your
chances of getting hit will rise astronomically. While I’m not saying you should
attach 200’ of Christmas tree lights to your jacket, it’s usually not best to dress all in
black when riding at night. Reflective colors are effective at night, while fluorescent
colors are best during the day. You can wear a simple vest while riding, or attach
reflective stickers to your helmet (which you should always wear!). Standing out
will help you not get rear-ended.
Finally, riding in groups helps as well. If the numbers are on your side, cars will
acknowledge your presence and give you a wider birth! Two cyclists are easier to
see than one.

4. The “left cross”
This crash is pretty common—Essentially what happens is you’re riding straight
through an intersection, and a motorist turns left, directly into you.
One of the best ways to avoid this crash is to never pass someone on the right. When
motorists look into oncoming traffic, they don’t usually look for cyclists. A bicycle is
significantly smaller than a car, so you’ll be much harder to see. Passing on the right
is also dangerous because it sets you up for the right hook again.
What are some of your top ways to stay safe?

What can you do to protect yourself?

-Take a safe cycling class through Recycle-A-Bike, RI Bicycle Coalition, or the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Company. Practicing with other cyclists will help you learn tips and trick for riding safely and will boost your confidence!

-Practice handling the above-mentioned scenarios

-Look up local traffic and bicycle operation laws

-Wear the right protective gear

*This article was provided by Personal Injury Help (www.personalinjury-law.com)
and was not written by a legal professional, so be sure to check your local cycling
ordinances to be sure you ride legally!

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About Us

Our Mission

Educating, empowering, and building community by connecting people and bicycles

Our Vision

Valuable connections are made in our community shop among bicycle riders. By learning and sharing bike maintenance knowledge, people learn to believe in themselves and their community. Our programs make the simple technology of these pedal powered machines available to all with the help of the volunteer staff and general skill sharing.

Mobility on a bicycle is an expression of our freedom and equality! We encourage members of the public to participate in cycling as part of a healthy and active lifestyle – not just as a recreational activity, but also as a viable mode of transportation.

Ride safely on the road. Be predictable, aware, courteous, and confident. Keep riding: you are a legal vehicle with the same rights on the road! Download cycling safety tips from the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen and the Greenways Alliance of Rhode Island (via RIDOT’s Bike RI page).

Board of Directors:

Patrick McMillan, President
Edward Raff, Vice-President
Barbara Bentsen, Secretary
Stephanie Castilla, Treasurer
Thomas Bacon
James Bentsen
Amye Follett
Kurt Teichert
Caitlin Towey

Staff:

Ally Trull, Education Director
Gregory Sankey Jr, Shop Manager
David Aguirre, Youth Mechanics Coordinator

Our Community Bike Shop

Our community bike shop in Olneyville Square provides visitors with the opportunity to find affordable bicycles & bike parts along with the help and training to get their bikes on the road.

If you’re looking for used parts, a bike-project to wrench on, a bike to ride, to donate your old bike/parts or to take a class on bicycle mechanics – you’ve come to the right place.

Come for a visit during Open Shop to get your hands greasy, to give back to the community or to make new friends!

Our Community

“At RAB, I had the unique opportunity to train with a master mechanic, during which time I built a bike that I use daily. As a committed volunteer, I also spearhead projects and gain experience in leadership.”

Dailen V., Volunteer

“Recycle-A-Bike helped me learn about the mechanical operation of my bike, to “know my bike,” and introduced me to people who are involved in our cycling community. This is a great place for women who enjoy cycling!”

Betty B., Volunteer

“I have always been unsettled by how much waste we create in our world. At RAB, I am able to restore used bikes to complete working condition. I love sharing this experience in the classes that I teach.”

Nick P., Master Mechanic

 

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Location & Hours

Upcoming Events at Our Shop:

Recycle-A-Bike:

** We Moved! **1911 Westminster St, Providence, RI 02909

Contact:

(401) 525-1822
Email Gregory Sankey – Shop Manager
Email Ally Trull – Education Director

Open Shop Hours:

-> Tuesdays: 5-8pm

-> Saturdays: 10am-2pm

Youth (under 15) must be accompanied by an adult.

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Build-A-Bike

About

Build-A-Bike is a six-session course that teaches members of the community how to repair and recycle abandoned bicycles. Participants fix up a bike, to be donated to our program. In this way, we remove bikes from the waste stream, develop a skill base of mechanical proficiency in the community, and offer affordable mechanics training.

History

Recycle-A-Bike started Build-A-Bike in the Spring of 2011. We hold five or six workshops per year; last year, 68 people successfully completed the program, and 112 bikes were rebuilt and put back onto the road. As the green economy grows, the need for specialized skills surrounding green transportation rises. Build-A-Bike teaches people how to repair and refurbish bicycles and share that knowledge with those around them.

Get Involved

Build-A-Bike is a 6-session, 18-hour class and is open to all skill levels. Sign up today and build your own wrenching skills!

Interested in taking a class? Subscribe to our upcoming classes mailing list

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Next Class Begins: Sunday, October 15, 2017 More information and class registration here.

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Our Programs

 

Open Shop

Everyone is welcome to drop into our space during our open shop hours.   Visitors can use our bike stands, specialized tools and space to make repairs or do routine maintenance on their bikes.  Used bike parts are available at discounted prices.  The price of new parts are determined by the market rate.

This is a do-it-yourself model, where we take pride in teaching visitors how to make the repairs and adjustments, instead of simply doing the work for them.  Our in-house Master Mechanics are always on hand to provide technical expertise and guidance. You don’t need any mechanical experience to join us, but do be prepared to get your hands greasy. There is a suggested donation of $5/hour.  Anyone may also volunteer during these hours, and time donated helping the shop will earn points which may be traded for parts, or shop time.

Open Shop Hours: Tuesdays 5-8pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm

 

WTF (Women, Trans, Femme) Nights @ RAB

The first Wednesday of every month, Recycle-a-Bike will host WTF Wrenching Wednesdays This open-shop-style space is available to people who identify as female, transgender, femme, genderqueer, trans-masculine, trans-feminine, or feel their socialization or treatment as a woman/transperson*/femme has impeded their participation in bike mechanics. If you do not identify with one of these identities, you are kindly asked not to attend this shop time.*

This night is a time to bring your own bike project to work on, pick out a project to volunteer your help with or just to tinker and practice working with the tools. No mechanical knowledge or experience necessary- just an interest in learning! WTF Wrenching Wed will maintain a pop-ed learning culture (no one knows everything and everyone knows something), so we hope to create a kind and respectful learning environment. WTF Wrenching Weds were developed in response to an expressed community need for such a space, drawing inspiration from similar programs nationally and internationally. Click here to see our upcoming WTF Wrenching Wednesdays FB Events, or e-mail Ally with any questions.

 

Pedal Power

Pedal Power brings bikes, helmets and qualified bicycle skills instructors to school-age children in and around the Providence area. Over six weekly class sessions, we turn kids who have never ridden or don’t feel comfortable on a bike into safe, confident and skilled bicyclists. They learn skills like turning and stopping and good safety habits like wearing helmets and signaling.

Maybe most valuable of all, we take them outdoors into nature. Most of our classes take place on bike paths, where kids are outdoors and safe. We take time to explore the hiking trails, woods and shorelines, observing plant and wildlife that we encounter.

 

Wrenching Wednesdays (New schedule coming soon!)

Wrenching Wednesdays are back with a twist! Throughout the year we will be getting together to work on bikes that we can use to raise money for the shop. Unlike Open Shop this will not be an opportunity to work on your own bike or to assist customers, this is a night solely dedicated to team camaraderie and earning points!

These are great opportunities to help RAB grow while hanging out and learning from fellow bike geeks. These sessions are open to bike mechanics of all levels, from absolute beginners to those looking to master these skills. Some nights may have a focus on how to repair a particular component, but in general this will be a build-at-your-own-pace atmosphere.  Shop-worthy attire and closed-toe shoes are required. Let’s build bikes and skills together!

Stay tuned for UPCOMING sessions::: but contact Gregory – the Shop Manager if you are interested

 

Bike Mechanics and Technology

Bike M&T builds on our past Bike Mechanics internship program, adding a complete new science and math curriculum designed by professional educators. We’ll use bikes and pedal-powered electrical generators to demonstrate and apply core concepts in physics, such as work, friction, inertia, and electricity, together with the underlying math. Along with the science and math, students will master bike repair skills in our fully-equipped Community Bike Shop.

The RI Department of Education has approved our Bike M&T curriculum and plan for inclusion in their Advanced Course Network of out-of-classroom instruction opportunities. Students from any high school in Rhode Island may apply for available spaces. Our full year classes will take place at our shop in Olneyville for six hours per week over the two 15-week school terms. Participating students will earn full academic credit toward their high school science and general graduation requirements. As they work and learn in our Community Bike Shop, students will also see the connections linking academic achievement, work habits and skills and future success in life.

 

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