Hazard spotting

Riding through the city will always be slower, but that doesn’t mean our focus needs to stay close to home. If we’re out on the open road, the advice is always to get your head up and scan the horizon for opportunities and problems - where we can overtake, where the next hazard can emerge from.

But when the ride is in the city, there’s a tendency to focus only on the next few yards on tarmac ahead. That’s not a wise move. We need to be looking for what might affect us in a few seconds time – and be ready to do something about it.

As you look, spot the potential hazards and form a plan on how to handle it if it does emerge.

Take traffic lights. As you ride up, if it’s on green think about how long it’s been that way; will it switch to red as you get to the junction, forcing a hurried stop? If traffic is backed up beyond the lights, can you cross the junction safely and find space? Are there are other motorists paused at the lights and looking to turn across your path, who might not have seen you?

Watch out for ‘special’ vehicles that are linked to pedestrians. A stationary bus could have people emerging from it - as could a taxi. Which way will they go? Are they heading across the road in front of you?

If you see a pedestrian by the side of the road looking to cross, have they spotted you?

By elevating our line of sight we give ourselves a better overview of the road and the best chance to spot potential hazards.

Last point: if when we do this, there’s too much info coming our way… we’re probably riding too fast!

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