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Road safety tips for Portland bicyclists

Portland is a fairly bicycle-friendly city, but that does not mean accidents won't occur. Indeed, a bicycle is no match for a car and if one or the other gets distracted or some other unforeseen event happens, bikes and cars can get entangled in a collision -- and the cyclist is the one who suffers injury or even death. Fortunately, by keeping the following tips in mind, Portland cyclists can reduce their accident risks dramatically.

Cyclists should always refrain from using smartphones while on their bicycles. This kind of behavior is dangerous for drivers, too, but it is especially dangerous for cyclists. Not having both hands on your handlebars could result in an accident and the same is true for not having your eyes on the road.

Do your best to follow a straight line while riding your bike. You may be surprised how often your are tempted to cross the street suddenly or to swerve around just for the fun of it. This behavior is dangerous because car drivers will have a hard time predicting your trajectory in order to avoid a collision with you. On that note, always use hand signals whenever you are about to change your bicycle's trajectory.

Look out for parked cars. These are especially dangerous because they may have a driver inside them, who might cause a bike crash by suddenly pulling into traffic or opening his or her door in the way of your bicycle's path.

Finally, always remember to enjoy your bike and have fun. Portland has many bike paths that recreational cyclists and commuters can enjoy. Be sure to get out there and enjoy them safely and responsibly.

Source: Greatist, "Road Bike Safety 101: How to Get There, Get Fit, and Not Get Hit," Sophia Breene, accessed July 10, 2015

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