Is cycling in Sofia dangerous? If this is what you are wondering about before you take a bike, don’t. It is the wrong question. Taking part in the traffic in Sofia, or any other place, is dangerous, whether by bike, car or on foot. The right question is: how do I manage the traffic? A few suggestions form a Dutchman biking in Sofia.

The most important suggestion I actually get from having guests from Sofia in the Netherlands (my home country). Walking around town, they check very carefully when they want to cross, as they would in Sofia. Checking for cars from the left, the right and again from the left before crossing. All clear? Lets cross. And get run over by a bike. No being used to bike on the street, the brain does not seem to register the bike. It is a well known phenomenon: our brains somehow don’t register things that are very different from the “normal”.

Take this to the streets in Sofia. The average car driver is not used to bikes so the cyclists is not seen. For me, cycling in Sofia means one thing: I make sure I am visible. A big bike, sit straight up, make my intentions clear to others, use the middle of the lane and certainly stay away from the right-hand side of cars, especially the right hand side of buses and trucks. On that side is not only the blind spot of the brain, there is also the “blind area” of these vehicles.

I try not to bike on the pedestrian areas. If you are scared by the cars, why do you go and scare pedestrians? If I have to (have to = it is more conventient), I adjust my speed to the pedestrians and give them sufficient space.

This is a small story. We would like to read your stories about cycling in Sofia. Not so much about what is wrong and who to blame for that. We know. We would like to read how you manage. Send us your story for others to become wiser.

Happy cycling

Rene



Last update: 2015.01.28