Almost everyone will agree with the importance of this statement, but few put it into practice.
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Seldom on a bike ride do you ever ride all the way to your destination and never stop somewhere along the road. We all, at one time or another, have stopped and taken a picture, talked with our riding buddies, fixed a tire, or simply stopped to rest. Do you get completely off the road? In the grass? Every time? Without exception? On my cross country trips, one of the most dangerous things I see time and time again, is bikers standing along the roadway...on the pavement! You are putting yourself at risk while you are moving on the bike but you are putting yourself in danger when you are a standing target. Distractions like working on a bike, or talking will take your eyes off oncoming traffic and put you in harms way. I came around a corner one day and there were 5 cyclists standing in the road talking with barely enough distance for me to avoid them. None of them were looking back to see if there was anything coming, they were just standing there talking. It wouldn't have taken any energy or inconvenience for them to have stepped about 5 paces or so off the roadway to better insure their safety.
Here's two things to consider. One, anytime we are cycling we should strive to be role models and courteous to motorists and other cyclists. A group of people standing in the road will irritate a motorist for sure, make other cyclists have to pass you by pulling away from the right of the road, and I shouldn't have to mention an inattentive motorist or a sleepy one that could plow into the group. Second ( I know you've heard me say this before) we are creatures of habit. Get into the habit of ALWAYS getting off the road and you won't have to remember to do it when you feel it could be dangerous (well, it's really always dangerous). Besides, just because there is no traffic when you stop doesn't mean that there will be no traffic the whole time you are standing there. Try to find a place where you can ride off the road before stopping so you'll already clear of the traffic. On your next few rides, take note of when you and your buddies pull off and you'll notice that where they stop is where they will usually stand. If they stop on the pavement, they tend to stand there the whole time and make cars pass around them. Must be something about walking in biking shoes.
Get into the habit of pulling completely off the pavement every time you stop on the roadway and you'll be more likely to live to ride another day. Happy cycling!
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