You've got to bike a bit aggressively to stay safe. But, we interviewed Portland bike lawyer Ray Thomas for three simple tips on how to not ride like a jerk.
BE LESS LIKE A DEER.
Motorists think of bicyclists as if we're urban deer. They're afraid we're gonna go left, we're gonna go right—who knows what we're gonna do? The way to combat that is to be predictable, and to give a hand signal before we turn or stop, so that drivers know what we're gonna do.
BE MORE LIKE JESUS.
One way to be more Jesus-y is to try to work with drivers so they can safely pass you. Say you're stopped at a red light, and you're going straight. There's a motorist behind you with his right signal on—if you weren't there, the motorist could make a legal right turn. All you have to do is move your bike a foot and a half to the left, and you create room for the motorist to turn right. If you do that, and you turn around with the look of a benevolent Jesus on your face, you will see a motorist realizing, "Oh my god, a bicyclist is trying to help me." That is the fabric of which a cooperative relationship on the road is made.
BE LESS LIKE A SPOOK.
Bikes have to give an audible warning when passing on the sidewalk. Pedestrians need to know that when a cyclist beeps the bell at them, it's not to tell them to get out of the way.
For more rules of the road, see Ray Thomas' website at stc-law.com