Riding tips: The way you interact with road users is key

Published: 05 August 2017

Every time you are out and about riding you are communicating with other road users, giving and receiving information. For example, each time you squeeze the brake lever you are illuminating your brake light and thereby informing other traffic that you are slowing. Every time you put your indicators on you are having a non-verbal conversation with other road users. Every road journey is an interaction with other road users and we all rely on each other to communicate. It is this unspoken contact that allows us to share our road space safely and be at one with our fellow humans.

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It’s just good manners

Good communication is an important and often overlooked part of riding. For example, if you are travelling down a road with several parked cars and you stop to give way to an oncoming driver you would expect a cheery wave. If a driver ignores you in such a situation you might not be so generous next time. 

Defuse sticky situations

If you make a mistake on the road (and let’s face it, who hasn’t at some point?) and accidentally cut up or inconvenience another road user, don’t just stick your head down and pretend it hasn’t happened. If you spill someone’s drink in the pub would you just walk off and ignore them? Give a wave to say sorry and rather than leaving the other driver cursing, you will have instantly made your peace with them. This will defuse any road rage. 

Used the horn? Give ’em a wave 

Ever used the horn and found the recipient to be indignant? Give a quick wave to say: ‘Ta, just checking you’d seen me, no hard feelings.’

Make your intentions clear on the road

Make your position clear

You can communicate in subtle ways to help control your road space, too. Early positioning helps other road users understand and anticipate your intentions. Reducing speed early before manoeuvres puts other drivers on notice and help them to give you the space that you desire. 

Lead by example

Next time you use your indicators or show your rear brake light, consider the message you send out. Are you giving enough info, at the right time, and will it be understood? Lead by example, give clear information, be polite and you will encourage other road users to follow suit.

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