Should Cyclists Rely on Other Cyclists to Call Out It's Clear to Go?

Video Transcription:

Hi, it's Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. So, is it safe to rely on your cycling partner to call out it's clear to go? The answer to that question is always no, you do not rely on someone else to yell that the way is clear.

You know, and when I started riding, I rode with a number of clubs and years ago it was pretty common you know, when you go out on a club ride or go out in a group ride of any kind, whether you're coming up to an intersection, you're going to cross perpendicularly and cross the road, or you were going to, you know, the infamous you're going to change from the bike lane to the left lane to the right, to the through lane and turn left at an intersection, someone's yelling out "all clear," "clear to go," "lane is clear," whatever.

Today, not so much the case. Many bike clubs, I hope most of all bike clubs, don't promote calling out that it's clear because it promotes just unreliable behavior. We all know that like when you arriving at an intersection you've got 50 bicyclists riding in formation behind you back in the days before the COVID. You know, the first person arriving there is going into the intersection or yelling at "clear," "clear," "clear." Well, you know, "clear" changes in a second or two. So, the reality of going through an intersection or turning left at a light and moving into the through lane and across the through lane is no rider leaves their position and no rider advances until they know they've looked, and they've made the decision that it's safe to do so. You cannot rely on what you hear or what you think you hear.

I would, I can't reveal a lot, but I can tell you that we have calls regularly on this very issue. It's someone what they thought I heard them say "clear," and I went and it wasn't clear or the guy ahead of me yelled "clear" by the time I got there, I didn't look and there was a car coming. I mean, it happens with regularity. There's so many variables that we encounter on the road. We have to be responsible for our own conduct. We have to make this, be responsible for our own safety. Every rider has to make that decision. Every rider has to make the decision that it is safe for me to proceed, and you, you are on thin ice, in my view, when you start relying on someone else to make that decision. That person making the call may really not be, may be very risk tolerant. They may go when you wouldn't go. You know? So, just make these calls ourselves. It's much safer. You would never want to rely on someone to be wrong, and as someone who's calling out, you don't want to call out and someone misunderstand or get there and it's not what you thought. Someone who gets injured, gets hurt. So, this applies especially to young riders, people who are just starting out in this sport: don't call out. Rely on yourself. Make that decision.

I'm Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. I represent cyclists across Florida. If you've been hit in a bike crash or been involved in a motor vehicle accident as a driver or passenger regardless of where you are, just call me. Let's talk about what I can do to help you. It's been good  talking to you! Enjoy the program. Be safe. Take care. Bye.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.