Cycling Resources

Cycling Resources

Handy things to know for your cycling commute

The bicycle is the most efficient vehicle ever devised. A human on a bicycle is more efficient (in calories expended per kilo and per kilometer) than a train, truck, airplane, boat, car, motorcycle or jet pack (ducks, however, are still more efficient). Cycling has incredible benefits including increased fitness, a sense of wellbeing & commuter cycling gives you the double whammy of doing exercise & saving money. However in a big city like Sydney, cycling can be intimidating, especially at first. To help you on your way, we have prepared a feast of tips and tricks. Happy cycling!

Useful tips from an experienced cyclist

Matthew Howard from PACE is an experience commuter cyclist and a cycling ambassador at Macquarie University. He has put together some of his best tips to help you on your way:

  • Always ride out of the 'door zone' - this is the space that is taken up by a car door opening in front of a cyclist (roughly 1 meter). 'Dooring' can potentially push you into the path of a following car so leave plenty of space between yourself and parked cars, even if this means riding into the traffic lane.
  • Do not be afraid to 'take the lane' - 'taking the lane' means safely positioning yourself towards the centre of the traffic lane to avoid cars trying to 'skim' past you without enough space.  This is advisable when approaching roundabouts, pinch-points, or spaces that you judge as being unsafe for cars to pass you with enough room. Before you move be sure to check over your shoulder and clearly indicate your intention with an outstretched arm.
  • Watch the wheels of cars as opposed to the drivers – if you are in heavy traffic the wheels of cars give a clearer and quicker indication of what direction that car is planning on moving, allowing you to adjust your 'line' appropriately.
  • When approaching intersections be sure to position yourself where you can clearly see drivers in the mirrors of their vehicles. Drivers may turn suddenly without indicating at intersections, so leave plenty of room between you and them. Remember, trucks and larger vehicles have a number of blind spots, and if you can't see their mirrors they can't see you. Never filter on the left of a turning truck no matter how much room there seems to be. Cyclists are allowed to filter to the front of traffic if the traffic is moving at 30km/h or less – it is often safer to move to the front of a line of stopped traffic so as to avoid being 'sandwiched' between two cars in the case of an accident.
  • When using shared paths remember, pedestrians always have the right of way. When attempting to pass a pedestrian always give a quick ring of your bell to indicate your presence followed by an audible 'passing on your right' - a polite 'thank you' as you pass always helps!
  • In addition to a bell, it is a legal requirement for your bike to have front and rear lights, as well as two working brakes on both wheels. It is also a legal requirement in NSW for cyclists to wear approved helmets. If possible choose clothing that has reflective materials embedded as opposed to just hi-vis. Hi-vis clothing may not necessarily reflect light at night.
  • Be wary of dogs and children on shared paths – they often move unpredictably and will not have the spatial awareness of adults. Adjust your speed to ensure you have adequate stopping room.
  • Be polite to drivers and be sure to give plenty of 'thank you' waves – this will encourage greater cooperation between drivers and cyclists. It is also now a legal requirement in NSW for drivers to pass cyclists with a minimum of 1 metre of space on roads with speeds of up to 60km/h, and 1.5 metres on roads with speeds at or above 60km/h.

Content owner: Macquarie University Property Last updated: 02 Mar 2020 10:58am

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