So, perhaps you’re new to riding in the road and are now trying to stay off the sidewalks as much as possible like our campus ordinance and bike safety advocates want you to. Great! Well, there are a number of things to keep in mind, beware of, and not just cars, trucks and buses.
Here’s one of them to the right. This is a pretty common road-side hazard that takes many forms. It’s basically the edge of the road and that difference in height between the edge and the curb gutter pan cement (or dirt if you’re out in the country) can cause you to lose control and crash you as you try to regain control should your front wheel drop off that edge. The same condition occurs at the edge of a off-road path or sidewalk and is often covered by grass making the hazard hard to notice until it’s too late. This is one of the most common crash scenarios that we hear about in our shop. I hope this will serve as a visual reminder why you shouldn’t ride up close to the curb when riding in the roads. And when riding on pathways or sidewalks (if you must) keep that nasty edge in mind when/ if you have to go off the edge to get around something/ someone. Survival Hint: Pop a little wheelie when getting back on the road/ path/ sidewalk to avoid crashing. Not far from the above photo is this pothole in the bike lane (2nd photo to the right); could also be a dead animal or spare tire, or whatever.
You need to be able to miss stuff like this without swerving into traffic, so it’s best to ride far enough out into the travel lane (particularly when using these very narrow bike lanes or paved shoulders) so that you have options to get around such things without swerving at the last second into traffic & risk getting hit. See this web page courtesy of the League of Michigan Bicyclists that lists all of the Michigan Laws Pertaining to Bicyclists including the right to ride in other areas of the road way to stay safe and get to where you need to go like any other legal road user.