Car drivers talk on the phones, listen to radio, talk to passengers and drink their Big Gulps. Their attention is scattered and their reaction time is delayed by the distractions.
Keeping this in mind, here are some thoughts on how to ride safer on a scooter:
- If there is a car nearby, do not assume that driver sees you. If they see you, do not assume they will yield to you.
- When choosing a route, try to pick a road with less traffic. Safety is more important than saving few minutes - and besides, with less cars around, you might actually get there faster.
- If you are on the road with 2 lanes of traffic going in your direction and the opposing lanes are separated from yours by a wall or a lawn, ride in the left lane. This will minimize your contact with people pulling out of side streets/driveways. Note - this tip only applies if your bike can keep up with traffic.
- When you see someone getting ready to pull out into your right-of-way, try to establish eye contact. If you see that their wheels are spinning, honk! If you are tech-savvy, upgrade your horn. Otherwise, get a Genuine Buddy - they got the loudest horns in the world!
- Since you know that many car drivers are distracted, make sure that at least you are focused. Do not smoke, drink, eat or use a phone when riding. I know that some helmets have headsets and they are really nifty, but it's probably better not to use those either - it's safer to pull over if you need to talk to another rider in your group.
- When you are riding next to a car, make you sure you are not in their blind spot. If you can pass them do so, otherwise slow down and let them get farther ahead.