For the majority of tandem teams their favorite rides occur on the same roads occupied by cars. This brings up a series of serious considerations that must be addressed for safe travels. The following tips are intended to help keep your rides safe:
- Take as much of the lane as necessary to safely ride. Note the “as much” part, don’t take the whole lane for no reason.
- When approaching an intersection ride in the appropriate lane for your travel. If you are making a right turn get into the right turn lane; left turn the left turn lane; traveling straight stay in a straight traveling lane.
- Listen – your ears can be more important at keeping you safe than any other sense. Pay attention to the sound of approaching vehicles (engine rpm, braking sound, etc). learn to anticipate the vehicle by sound versus sight.
- Avoid confrontations – ride long enough and you will be provoked. From a vehicle buzzing you to items being thrown your way you will be tempted to confront a motorist. Avoid the temptation and take the highroad.
- Signal your intentions – hand signals go a long way to keeping you safe.
- Say thanks – believe it or not there are a lot of motorists who will go out of their way to allow you safe travels. When you notice this make sure to pass along a gesture of gratitude.
- Travel at safe speeds and distances – your tandem can be a speed machine on pavement. Effective tandem teams can crank the wheels at speeds much higher than normal bikes. Be aware that others may not anticipate your higher speed; allow extra stopping/ maneuvering distance.
- Keep your eyes up the road. For a solo-bicyclist their key safety maneuver to avoid pot-holes and road debris is the bunny hop. The bunny hop on a tandem is not a viable maneuver which leaves you exposed to some very dangerous obstacles. It is up to the captain to spot and avoid these obstacles.
Riding a tandem bike on the same highways as motor vehicles adds danger to the fun activity. By following the tips above tandem teams can ensure for a safer and more peaceful ride.