The standard way in which bike safety has been taught is to give the
student sets of instructions for how to deal with common traffic situations.
These methodologies are interesting to anyone who cares about bike traffic
safety, but we advise that each be taken as being to some degree
idiosyncratic. One size does not fit all. We are pleased to note that
many of the newer professional publications on method take this fact to
It is up to the student to develop a coherent method that works for him/her,
so here we present several methods presented by articulate cyclists and
safety professionals. Review them to give yourself an idea of what considerations
go into a well thought out method for dealing with traffic. Some of the
pages linked to from here will also access more traffic cycling resources.
These are just a few obvious picks that we have found. (If you have a
problem loading any of these pages, please
let us know).
Books - References to published books about cycling in traffic
Art of Urban Cycling, by John Hurst - This recently published book
is the best book to ever come out about how to ride in traffic. It gathers
up all the progress and problems that resulted from the vehicular cycling
concept propounded over a quarter century ago in Effective Cycling (below).
The book has its shortcomings, as did Effective Cycling, and as would
any book breaking lots of new ground into a topic not easily described
Cycling, by John Forester
- This enormous book (not available for download), running to nearly
600 pages, details many of the author's views on how to ride a bicycle.
It includes well over 100 pages of traffic cycling method, along with
many other subjects relevant to operating a bicycle and being a cyclist
in modern American society. This book is significant for several reasons.
It is an outstanding example of a coherent and well-documented system.
Granted, every reader is bound to disagree with (or be outright pissed
off by) something in Effective Cycling, but the depth to which the
act of cycling in traffic is analyzed makes it a model for anyone trying
to develop their own coherent method. Forester's concept of "vehicular
cycling" cleared away a lot bad advice being dispensed by authorities,
and is still the core concept of bicycle education. Forester's uncompromising
and didactic style make the book a difficult read at times, but it will
help the student understand the (occasionally strident) attitudes of
many bike safety pundits. In this way it may be something like the lengthy
appendicies to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which
only the truly hard-core afficianados of the genre can fully swallow.
Street Smarts by John Allen
- Allen's slim and concise booklet is becoming a standard issue for
American bike safety advocates. It is being reprinted in several states
to detail bike laws particular to those states, and is supplied with
more safety-conscious brands of bikes. The whole book is available as
- Review of three cycling handbooks (PDF) by
Stewart C. Russell - This review, written from a UK perspective, appeared
in issue 2 of the cutting edge British Cycling magazine Velo
Vision. It reviews three books about cycling in traffic: Effective
Cycling, Cyclecraft (a UK book comparable to Bicycling Street
Smarts), and Urban Riders' Tricks and Tips (a rogue's guide to
Professional advice - Publications by public and private organizations
on how to bike in traffic.
Personal Essays - "How to bike safely" essays by various
authors who took the trouble to write it all out and post them to the
web. The similarities and differences between these pieces are perhaps
the most interesting parts of these essays.
- Ken Kifer's Bicycle
Traffic pages - This is an index to several essays on difficult
situations. This site is recommended by many cyclists.
- Michael Bluejay's "How to not
Get Hit by Cars" - Bluejay examines 10 common collisions and
recommends strategies and tactics for avoiding them. He also gives several
general tips, including a couple of controversial ones, which offhandedly
highlight some of the strident disagreements among bike safety pundits
as to what advice is "good" and "bad."
Pein's Road Vogue - Featuring several references to the North Carolina
traffic code, this online booklet has a flair for alliterative allusions.
Pein quoins the term "Ride Big."
- Fred Oswald's (LCI #947) index
of resources from crankmail.com - Features his essay "Ten Tips
for Safe and Enjoyable Bicycle Commuting," among many other things.
back to the essays index