I am a new cyclist looking for some tips about how to deal with road safety issues. The rest of this post describes situations I have encountered recently while riding. I'm looking for advice about what I should have done/ should do in the future to avoid or reduce the safety hazard. I apologize if this has been covered in the past. I could not find specific situational advice using the search function. Thank you all in advance for your help.
No Shoulder Roads
I have on occasion found myself biking along roads where the white fog line is painted at edge of the pavement with only a ditch to the right of line.
What I did:
Rode as far right as possible as pickup trucks passed with little clearance at 45mph. At the first possible opportunity (several miles own the road) turned onto a safer road.
Ideas for the future:
1) Avoid such roads in the future.
How should I go about this, especially for new routes where I do not know the road conditions?
2) Take the full lane. Is taking the lane more dangerous on a road where it is not possible to ride at the speed of traffic?
4 Way Stop
Driver who is to my right or arrived at the stop sign first waves me on despite having the right of way.
A related but different situation involves when two side roads with stop signs meet a main road with no stop sign. I am attempting to cross the main road and after stopping at the white line have to move up in order to see oncoming traffic. Meanwhile a car is stopped across the street and the driver waves me on. Should I trust my life to their judgement and go. Move up slowly and look before going possibly causing the driver across the street to turn in to me. or should I wave the driver on and then precede as normal?
What I did: This has happened frequently and I have responded in a number of different ways. Sometimes I have gone and sometimes I have waved the driver on instead. This situation is often complicated when a third vehicle arrives later at the stop sign or in the second case when more than one driver is waiting across the street.
Right Turn Only Lanes
A road I frequently travel on has a large wide paved shoulder that is marked in spots as a bike lane. Along this road there are a couple of places where the shoulder narrows and turns into a right hand only car lane. One of these locations is at an intersection with a 4 lane divided highway (there is a traffic light). At a second location there is a right hand only lane that leads to an office building. There is a sign indicating that the bike lane ends and the shoulder is marked with a pedestrian symbol.
What I did:
I always check my handlebar mirror and then over my shoulder before signaling left and merging into the center lane to cross the street. Frequently cars will pass me while I'm in the middle of the intersection. What should I do?
At the second location I acted the same as at the busy road. Carefully merging into the center lane to cross the intersection. A couple days ago as I biked thru the the intersection a car sped towards me from behind honking their horn. What should I have done? And what should I do to be more safe in the future? Incidentally I was wearing a bright yellow road safety vest and it was bright daylight at the time.
I have often been barked at and chased by dogs some of them friendly but still a hazard, some of them not friendly. On occasion these dogs are accompanied by an owner who either has them on a long leash or no leash at all. At other times the dogs are running freely with no people around.
How do I best avoid hitting the dog without putting my self at risk to oncoming traffic? Also, in the case of the nasty dogs what do I do to protect myself in case of attack?
Situation: While biking on the wide shoulder of a moderately travelled state road several cars honked their horns before passing me. I'm not sure if these drivers were being friendly, attempting to warn me before they passed ( I was several feet off the the travel lane in the shoulder), or just annoyed the cyclists exist.
What can I do in the future to travel on moderately busy roads that have a shoulder?
Insects, rain and gravel
Situation: Flying insects, rain or gravel hits me in the eye temporarily blinding me.
What I did: On one recent occasion an insect flew into my eye forcing me to close one eye signal a stop and hastily break while pulling off to the side of the road.
Are there cycling goggles that a non eyeglass wearer can use to protect themselves from flying debris and critters?
Situation: Some roads have a shoulder that is covered in hazards such as glass gravel, storm drains and pot holes.
Should I ride in the less than perfect shoulder or violate the rule of invisibility (assume you are always invisible to cars) and ride in the lane?
Any other general safety tips besides the obvious? (wear a helmet have lights when riding at night etc..)
Thank you so much.
I appreciate all the advice I can get.