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Communication is key: how being obvious is being safe on a bicycle

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 at 11:00 am

If you work in an office, I do, then you have probably experienced the strange and troubling phenomenon of communications break down. It can be a disruptive and most distracting occurrence. The result is usually confusion, a string of long emails and somebody making an error in judgment. All of these things could generally have been avoided with a brief conversation to bring direction and clarity to a simple misunderstanding. But instead people just keep pushing forward oblivious to the train wreck that is piling up around them.  When it comes to communication it pays to be direct, concise and clear about your intentions and needs, it can avoid serious confusion and costly traffic jams.

It stands to reason then that communicating effectively has benefits outside the office too, like say with a significant other or on a more relevant note on your bicycle when you need to communicate with drivers. These are times when it pays to be clear about what you want. There can be no wishy-washy at times like these because the outcome is generally negative in these situations.

What I am getting at then is that when you are riding your bicycle it is more than advisable to be direct and clear about what you are doing. It’s a good habit to get into in general. You may not see the results right away; in fact you may never realize that you are getting the results you desire because the real result is arriving safely at your destination every time you set out for a bicycle ride.

Safety is all about making conscious decisions: a conscious decision not to suddenly change lanes directly in front of a large, hulking, metal vehicle barreling down the road. A conscious decision to signal properly when you are going around a corner so drivers understand your intent. A conscious decision to realize that even though you may have the right of way, if you exercise your point against a car there is an excellent chance your point will be lost when you make an abrupt introduction to the car and then the pavement you were both travelling on.

Learning how to communicate effectively, you see, can have many benefits. It can bring you happiness in your relationships, reduce stress in the workplace and help you make it to your next destination safely without repose in the nearest hospital. So from now on when you are riding your bicycle think about being obvious, stating your intent and then following through while not being afraid to give way when needed, these are good skills to learn for everyday.

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