Riding a bicycle with traffic is generally much safer than riding against it. When I was of grade-school age, I was taught that the cars have to see you to avoid you, and I should ride like I was a vehicle. Sadly, that school now has a “no bicycles” sign, but I’ve ridden with the cars as long as I can remember.
But it still unnerves people to do this: I can’t see the cars coming, they’ll say. And it takes some guts to stand up to traffic, particularly traffic in northern New Jersey. But think of it this way: If a car, going 40mph, hits you when you’re riding with traffic (at, say 10mph), that’s like getting hit by a car going 30mph. If you were riding against traffic, it’s like getting hit by a car driving at 50mph. I know which one I’d prefer. (Not to mention that bikes riding against traffic are giving cars less time to react to them.)
And if that doesn’t convince you, look at the statistics. Riding a bike against traffic is, statistically, far riskier than riding with it. And getting hit from behind by a car traveling in the same direction as you? That’s rare, very rare. (And, hey, they make bicycle mirrors. Or you can glance behind you as you ride.)
There’s a lot more on this topic here: Why is it safer to bike with traffic, instead of facing oncoming cars?
Neil Fein is a freelance editor who specializes in novels. If you’ve written a manuscript or are getting close to finishing, you can get in touch with him here, and even ask for a free sample edit. He’s also the guitarist in the band Baroque & Hungry, he rides his bicycle as much as he can, and he paints when the mood strikes him.