With the advent of e-bikes and the popularity of cycling in general there are now many more people on bike paths. Sadly, we read of increasing numbers of accidents most of which can be easily avoided. I have put together a selection of scenarios that have the potential for accidents but with a little thought can be avoided.
Corners have the potential for accidents especially if you cannot see around the corner. It is common sense to go into the corner slowly so you can take avoiding action if necessary. Always ensure you are on the correct side of the path. Etiquette shows you should travel on the side of the path as you would in a car on the road so in Europe it would be the right side of the path.
Passing people and bikes
When you come across other cyclists in front of you on a path going in the same direction, ensure you always check behind you before you pull out and pass them. Use the bell on your bike to let them know you are there. If they are unaware of your presence it is easy for them to use the whole width of the path leaving you no space to get through.
When passing pedestrians, ensure you sound your bell in good time for them to move out of the way and not to give them a fright. Paths are for everyone, so treat everyone with respect.
Be more vigilant if people are walking their dogs, even if they are on a lead, they still have the length of that lead to move out into your path so make sure they know you are there. A frightened dog could nip you.
Many bike paths cross roads at points. It is amazing how many people just ride straight across without looking, remember the road traffic will invariably have priority. Think about how you drive when there is a crossroads, apply the same rules to a bike path.
Gravel, mud, water, oil, or cowpats! Look out for these types of slippery surfaces when on a bike path. They can easily catch you out if you are not prepared. Don’t brake suddenly when you find yourself on a slippery surface, move over it first then brake.
Bridges with wooden planks are especially slippery when wet. The best way to avoid any issues is to brake before the bridge or after the bridge, just don’t brake on the bridge to avoid a dangerous skid.
Politeness goes a long way
Always thank people for moving off the path and giving you space. We all have a right to be there, whether it be pedestrians, cyclists, or people on horses. Sometimes it will be for you to give way, it costs nothing, and it may be a safer option for all concerned. It’s nice to be polite and courteous towards others, but even more important to be safe.