During an emergency, one of the techniques you can use when riding a bicycle is the “Instant Turn” or counter steering This is basic in bicycle safety and in avoiding obstacles and injuries.
What is counter steering?
The Instant Turn technique or counter steering is necessary when a car suddenly turns right while you are next to it.;
You can either turn, stop, or otherwise hit the car. If by any reason you cannot use your brakes to stop, you should turn as quickly as possible.
The Instant Turn technique is quicker than a normal turn. However, it requires practice.
How to execute counter steering
The Handlebar Jerk
You jerk the handle bar on the opposite direction that you want to go. For example, if you want to go to the left, you quickly jerk your handlebars slightly to the right. This split-second move will make your bicycle to slightly lean and set up your turn. The bicycle weaves to the right but turns to the left, and vice versa when you want to go to the right.
After your bicycle has leaned, you should lean in and execute the turn. Keep in mind that there might be an obstruction around the turn so you must pay close attention. Getting close to the car is alright as it would only result to a minimal impact.
Your right foot must be on the 3, 9, or 12 o’clock position in order to avoid hitting your pedal. But since pedal position is a personal preference, see to it that you are comfortable and confident in your position. To help you keep traction as you make the turn, lean hard on your outside pedal.
More Bicycle Safety Tips
Avoidance is still the best way to riding safely. Do not take the lane if it is too narrow to share safely. Every bicyclist must learn this technique in order to bike safely.
To learn more about the instant turn technique or counter steering, watch this comprehensive video about counter steering on a motorcycle. It’s an excellent demonstration of the science and technique of counter steering on a cycle, and is as valid for a bicycle as a motorcycle.