I am soon going to be doing allot more riding downtown. All over the loop area. It is going to be very different from what I am used to. Any tips for me?
Pedal hard my friends,
Good advice from Tom. I'd say, "act like a car." But WAY more careful!
If you get too nervous to act like a car- let's say, having to turn left by leaving the bike lane and crossing three lanes of traffic- then just be a pedestrian. No shame in hopping off and walking a block back down a one way or using the pedestrian crosswalk. I've done it many times. But the key is to walk it when you should. Don't ride against traffic or ride on the sidewalk. (I'm sorry, I'm sure you know this, but I see so many people who don't, and I had to say it. Don't ride on the sidewalk. Even in the loop.)
Follow the traffic signals and don't hesitate to take a lane if you need to- there's nothing worse than thinking you'll just slip around a big old delivery truck or a guy talking on his phone in a blue convertible parked in your way and then having to stop or be crushed as cars squeeze past you. This is my most frequent issue, since I stick to decent bike lanes. And it is unfortunately pretty frequent.
Placing yourself between the right turn lane and the outside lane is a little intimidating at first, but it gets better. This is tricky. Cars get most worked up when they want to turn right, I'm going straight, and I'm not over enough. So find and commit to your place, and smile at them when they glower at you.
Like the others said, make your intentions deliberate and be seen.
I also think biking downtown is safe. Traffic moves slower and there are lots of pedestrians, so that works in your favor. Pedestrians don't always realize you're there either, or know that they should not walk 4 abreast down the bike lane or walk in front of you with earbuds in and stand there staring off in the distance... as you ring your bell- so be prepared to stop.
Enjoy your time in the loop. It's really best by bike, once you're comfortable.
All good advice. Also be on the lookout for pedestrians - even if you have a green light - especially on Jackson and Clark.
They only watch for cars and once they don't see cars coming, they start crossing the street, even if they are still red.
Make sure you have a REALLY good lock. A Ulock, like a kryptonite, or a Bulldog. No cable, no cheap Ulock. If you want to keep your bike, learn to lock it up correctly.