Smarter, safer, better

The fall influx of college kids has produced heavier traffic in Chico—particularly in the downtown area. It amounts to a more hectic commute for cyclists and a greater risk for an accident. Strapping on that helmet is always a good first safety step, but here are some tips to avoid getting plowed into by a passing vehicle in the first place:

• At night, always wear a headlamp or use a front-mounted light. If drivers can’t see you, consider yourself burnt toast.

• Stay on your side of the road. Contrary to a puzzling popular belief, cycling in the wrong direction is actually far more dangerous.

• If you don’t have a loud bell or horn, don’t be shy—hoot and holler if you think a merging or turning motorist hasn’t seen you.

• Don’t hug the curb. You’ll increase your visibility to motorists and you’ll be less likely to run into a car door that could unexpectedly open right in front of you.