Make Them THINK You're Unpredictable

Photo: Photo Courtesey of BatInTheRain
10 Secrets to Cycling with Traffic: A 10 part series by Biking TO - Part 7

Today we continue a series of 10 posts about cycling with car traffic. These are things we have learned from years of riding in downtown Toronto. Some of these tips you may have seen before in other places, and some will be new.This is not meant to be a complete list... there are more secrets out there... but here are 10 that you'll find very useful.

These are geared towards downtown cycling, since that's what I'm most familiar with. These all assume that you already know about proper lighting and safety (i.e. helmets are useful, stopping at red lights is advised, etc.) precautions, and know that riding on sidewalks is one of the most unsafe things you can do, for both pedestrians and yourself.
Past tips are found at the bottom of this post.

Tip 7: Make Them THINK You're Unpredictable

This is a tip not many people know. If I'm in a stretch of road where drivers are passing too closely or I just want more room, I look over to my left or over my left shoulder. Sometimes I'll be looking at a store, or someone on the sidewalk, or down a street, but most of the time I'm just looking left for the sake of looking left.

Ive found that the simple act of looking over to the left is enough sometimes to give me more road space. Drivers, if they see you do this, seem to think that you're thinking of moving to the left (even if you aren't) and are checking to see if it's clear.

They don't want to hit you, so they become a little more cautious. If they think you may be coming left, they'll give you more room.

They don't know you're responsible and predictable and would signal before doing anything.

Stay Tuned: We're posting another tip tomorrow!
Past Posts in this Series:

Tip 1: Drivers Don't Want to Kill You

Tip 2: Ride in a Straight Line

Tip 3: Play by the Rules

Tip 4: Avoid the "Stoplight Squeeze"

Tip 5: Signal Sensibly

Tip 6: Take the Lane

secrets to cycling with traffic