You may know that the intersections are the ‘stages’ to show all of your traffic riding skills together because the intersections are where most accidents happen. If you ride smoothly and confidently through the intersections, you can deal with almost all the cycling situations and environments. So you should know how to cycle safely through the intersection.
TO KNOW THE RIGHT-OF-WAY
The right-of-way determines would go through an intersection first. Before you proceed into an intersection, you should give way to vehicles and pedestrians who are already at the intersection or approaching closely, because it would be a danger for your proceeding.
WITHOUT TRAFFIC CONTROLS
When you approach an intersection and see no signs of the stop, yield or other control signals, you should also give way to vehicles closely from the right.
Turning to the right is the easiest. First of all, stay in the right lane, look around for traffic and ride around the corner. Avoid to be squeezed against the curb, when it is narrow, you should ride in the middle of the right lane on a straightaway. Notice that at a stop sign or turn right on red legally, yield to approaching traffic from the left on the intersection. Cyclists should yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and also follow the same set of rules as motorists do. The right-turn signal is a useful courtesy to the driver who would have to wait for you if you were going straight. Pointing with your right arm is the most effective right-turn signal.
To make a left turn, changes lanes until you reach the left-turn position in traffic. When you ride toward the center of the street, no car is on your left to go straight ahead. If the lane performs left-turning traffic, you should ride at the left side of the traffic. If it’s left-turn-only lane, you can ride at the right side or in the center, according to lane’s width. It is possibly dangerous to ride into the middle of the street, but actually, the middle is the ideal position for your left turn. When you are in the right position, all the traffic you have to face with is the front ones, because you don’t have to look back for the coming from behind you when making a left turn. You may focus on the traffic from the left, right and front side.
When you have to cross more than one lane to reach the left turning position, two steps can help you. In the first place, ride to cross the lane line and you will be just inside the next lane; next step is to cross the far side of the lane. At every step, you should look back and gives a sign to the driver to make space for your turning.
When it is needed, you can yield to traffic from the left, right and straight ahead. You don’t have to stop but to move slowly to the middle of the intersection, as the same way cars do. Then you can move faster when a gap come out in the traffic, passing an oncoming left-turning car right side to right side. When making the left turn, don’t let the cars behind you pass you on the right for their left turn, stay near the middle of the lane or give a slow signal by your right hand. When entering the intersection, you should ride straight with a small room ahead of the behind cars. If you fail to make the left turn at the time you get to the intersection, stop to do it. Just go straight through the intersection, and then make your left turn at the next one or cross to the other side of the street, double back and turn right. At the far right corner of the intersection where you stop, you cannot swerve left, because it is not safe for you looking for the traffic in all the direction at once.
CHANGING YOUR LANE POSITION
If you want to ride smoothly and confidently through the intersections, the right lane position is vital. You should plan in advance to change lanes well if needed, especially for the left turns. Even when riding straight, you always need to adjust your position to avoid the accident with right-turning traffic. You should are able to look back for traffic importantly. Using the correct lane position makes you visible and gets you to focus on the traffic in front of you when entering the intersection. Be sure to stay alert for drivers who fail to signal, fail to yield, or change their mind about which way to go.
To handle the most intersection situation, you should often change your lane position. Even at the intersections or when turning to the right, you should ride farther toward the left side of the right lane. Before changing your lane position, you must always look the direction of your rear for traffic. You need some practice to turn your head without swerving to firm the sense of balance is in your head. It is wide that some bicyclists change lane position with no looking back, due to the afraid of others swerving. Notice that doesn't believe your ears totally! Many cars are very quiet and a bicycle behind you is even quieter.
You can practice looking back in an empty parking lot or other empty space. Ride along a straight line which you may use painted one. Glance back by turning your head, and then look forward again to see whether you're still riding in that straight line. To avoid swerving, think about the position of your arms. On conditions that don’t turn the handlebars, you won't swerve. Turn your head to look even if you have a rear-view mirror. A mirror can help you to keep track of the traffic directly behind you, but no mirror will show cars or bicyclists at your side. The best way to look back depends on your position. If you're sitting upright, swivel your neck and your back. If you're in a low crouch, duck your head sideways. Some bicyclists even duck their heads underneath their arms.
GETTING A DRIVER'S COOPERATION
Then you know how to look back. What is the next? As a car closes behind you, give a signal to let that car go by and deal with the next car. Usually, the next driver will have time to react according to your signals. If your intentions are known clearly, the driver will almost always let you into a comfortable situation. You can stretch your left arm for a signal that you want to do to the left, and wait a couple of seconds, then look back again to check the respond of the driver behind if he has slow down or move aside to make space.
Turning your head to look back is also a hint. In the crowded traffic which moves slowly, you need to always hold your hands on the handlebars, in the case of the need of brake. You can usually move into line with the cars while signaling only by turning the head. Whatever signal you use, you have to always check that the driver behind you has noticed your signal and leave space for you. Do not change your lane position until you're sure that the driver has made room for you. Most drivers will, but there's no guarantee with risk. Your signal doesn't mean the safety to change lane position. Only the driver's response to your signal makes you safe. Begin your lane change early enough to deal with two drivers, you'll almost always make it; if the first driver doesn't make room for you, the second one almost certainly will. In high-speed highway traffic, drivers may not have time to react to you. Then you need to wait for a gap in the traffic and move across all of the lanes at once.
GOING STRAIGHT THROUGH
Riding straight through an intersection is easier compared with a left turn. You may have to change lanes, but not usually as the above. When riding straight through, stay out of a right-turn-only lane. Check the right-turning traffic passes you on your right. But if there's a lane marked for right turns, ride near the left side. You may sometimes have to merge into the second or third lane from the curb to avoid the right-turning traffic. Never pass the first car when you approach an intersection where cars are waiting for the traffic light. You never know for sure when or in which direction that car will move. Additionally, as you're passing the car, pedestrian or other hazards may appear. The most challenging part of the intersection to ride straight through the traffic is the simplest one, namely on a small two-lane street. Traffic in the right lane may come from three different directions including the right, straight and left. Keep going straight ahead. When riding on a street without parking, ride a little farther into the lane to discourage drivers from passing you on the left for the purpose of right turning. With a little adjustment, you can place yourself far enough from the curb, thus, cars can pass you on the right turn right on red legally. Most motorists hesitate to pass between a bicyclist and the curb even to make a right turn. make a signal by your right hand’s waving.
In all, at the intersections, you should move to the right lane position depending on the direction you’ll be going to. Often, you’ll need to move away from your normal position near the right side of the road. Remember that if you’re turning right, keep to the right. But if you’re turning left, move to the center of the road. If you’re going straight, go to the right- and left-turning traffic.