Some cyclists fear being struck from behind while riding on the right side of the road. The fact of the matter is that incidents of cars hitting a cyclist from the rear are extremely rare. Motorists have a much easier time seeing you if you are on the right side of the road.
Another good reason to ride on the right side of the road is that drivers coming out of a driveway or turning onto a street tend to look and pay more attention to the left more than the right. This is because they are watching for a break in the traffic (which is coming on their left). If you are riding your bike on the left side of the road, you'll be in their "blind spot" as you approach them.
You need to use extra care and attention when riding on a street with parked cars. The biggest hazards are opening doors and cars entering the street where the driver is not adequately looking to see if it's safe.
When riding on roads with parked cars, ride a bit to the left of the cars so that if someone does open a door, it will miss you. It's a really good idea to glance at the side mirrors of parked cars as you're riding on the street. Oftentimes, you'll be able to see in the mirror if a driver is in the car -- if there is, pay extra attention for any sudden movements!
Intersections are THE most dangerous place for a cyclist. There is a lot going on at the crossing of streets. Cars going straight, cars turning, pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks, traffic signals -- it's all a lot to look out for.
A few things to do in intersections:
Stay Alert! There's lots going on - be aware of your surroundings.
Make eye contact If you can make eye contact with a driver, you know that they see you.
Use hand signals Indicate to drivers what it is that you intend to do.
Stay away from the curb - give yourself some room to maneuver and make yourself more visible to cars by riding a few feet away from the curb. If the lane is quite narrow, ride into the centre of the lane so that cars can't squeeze alongside you.
Don't enter an intersection beside a car - for safety, you're best to be in front or behind vehicles so that you can see turn signals and the driver of the vehicle can see you.
It's illegal to ride in crosswalksIf you feel safer using a crosswalk at an intersection, remember that you must dismount and walk your bike across the road.
Be predictable - this one is particularly important. Make sure that you're not doing something that is not expected of you. Stay with the flow of the traffic at all times and always abide by the rules of the road.
It's a good idea to treat every driveway like an intersection. Sometimes a driver can be anxious about getting onto a street (especially if it's busy) and may not be paying as much attention to cyclists as they should be. Be particularly cautious if a car is backing out of driveway onto a street. Watch the car carefully and try to establish eye contact with the driver.
Left turn like a car - when safe to do so, indicate your intentions by using your left hand signal and move into the left hand lane of the road (on a two-lane road). Position yourself in the lane so that cars cannot pass you on your left. Watch oncoming traffic and yield to them until it is safe to
Left turn by crossing two streets - the second method of turning left is to cross straight through the intersection staying on the right then stop and at the crossing, make a 90 degree turn and then cross the street. You can either ride your bike on the side of the lane, OR get off your bike and walk on the crosswalks.
It is illegal in BC to ride side by side on the roadway. Although riding side by side is legal on the shoulder of highways, it is recommended that side-by-side cycling be limited to where there are wide shoulders and the weather is clear.
Be particularly careful around large vehicles, especially when they are turning right. Make sure that you stay behind a truck, bus, or other large vehicle when they are turning right. The vehicle will typically move to the left before turning right so that they can negotiate the turn.