1. Don’t always stick to bikelanes, sometimes taking the full lane and riding in traffic is safer.
2. Watch for people in cars that may open their door. Look out for cracked doors on parked cars, taxi cabs pulling over, and people inside their cars. Give these guys space, even if that means getting out of the bikelane and riding in traffic.
3. Slow-down and be aware at intersections!!!! Most accidents happen at intersections, so this is where you need to be the most cautious (this applies to drivers too).
4. Watch out for cars/trucks turning right at intersections. The two most severe DC bike collisions in recent memory were caused by this. Cars/trucks often can’t see you in their blind spot. If they turn right and you are there, you will get hit. Even though this is the fault of the vehicle, beware and don’t put yourself at risk.
5. Remember that pedestrians often cannot hear you, and may wander out into the street because they don’t hear a car coming. Try to look out for pedestrians who may act stupidly before they actually act stupidly.
6. Watch out in poor visibility conditions. At the bike messenger place I worked in NYC, they told us that most accidents happened late in the day about an hour before sundown until sundown, when the lighting was odd (because of buildings, there is often bright glaring light in your eyes from some angles, and no light from others). If it’s hard for you to see, it’s hard for drivers to see.
7. Look ahead of you. If a car is blocking the bike lane a half a block up, adjust sooner, and you’ll be safer.
8. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS. I cannot emphasize this enough. Look around you and try to predict accidents before they happen.