It’s smart to be a proactive rider, but you can also make a big difference in your bike safety by simply riding in a straight line! Riding smoothly without unnecessary drifting or swerving is one of those basic bike skills that is easy to dismiss, but can do a lot to increase your visibility, your predictability, and ultimately your safety:
1. When you ride in a straight line, drivers (and other cyclists) expect that you will continue to do so. Being predictable keeps you safer.
2. Ride outside of the door zone and stay there. No swerving means no worrying about car doors.
3. Resist the temptation to move to the right when there are no parked cars. Sure, it can be a relief to get out of traffic, but you are making yourself harder to see and predict.
4. To change lanes or make turns, remember your hand signals. Signal early and often. Back up your signals with eye contact and make your intentions clear.
5. If you find yourself swerving when looking over your shoulder, practice your technique in an empty parking lot.
This is just one tip for safer cycling, but the the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is a wellspring of more useful information. Make them your go-to resource for safety tips, bike classes, events and more at waba.org.