Guest Post: Tips on Checking Your Blindspots

By Jacqueline Rubinstein, Feldenkrais Practitioner

blind spotsPortland is the most bike-friendly city I have every biked in.  I remember the first time I took off on a bicycle here, and how ecstatic I was by the amount of bike paths there were. It still tickles me that I can just head out my door with a general idea of the direction I need to go and find bike paths that basically connect the whole way to my destination.

Even in this bike-conscious city, it is still our responsibility to take measures to be as safe as possible. One thing I have been thinking about a lot lately is the action of turning to look behind me to check for cars, bikers, and other hazards.

As bikers, we know how important it is to check our blind spots.  We are vulnerable, with just a helmet to cushion an accident, so we need to be diligent in knowing what is going on around us.  Yet, there are those days when I have slept funny on my neck, pulled a muscle dancing, or just felt extra stiff.  Can you relate to these types of days when it is not as easy to check your blind spots?

Eeeks! If you can’t turn and check to see whose coming, you’re in danger of a serious accident, as well as injury and pain.  Trouble with turning can lead to pinched nerves, arthritis, and other sorts of chronic pain.  And well, it just makes biking a lot less fun.

The trick to healthy turning is to have your whole self moving together, so that when you want to turn to look over your shoulder, you aren’t doing an unconscious movement that is making this task more challenging for you.

You’d be surprised how common it is for someone to want to look to the left, but in trying to do so unconsciously moves her shoulders, hips, or even eyes to the right.  If you are having trouble looking over your shoulder, try heightening your awareness and feeling what each part of your body is doing, and then encourage each part to turn together.

Your eyes, head, shoulders, ribs, and hips should all turn in the same direction together to make looking over your shoulder as easy and pleasurable as possible. I recommend trying this out while biking down a quiet street, so you feel secure enough to let your attention zoom into how you are using yourself in turning.

I know it sounds simple, but just using your awareness to check in with what you are doing and what parts of yourself you can encourage to move with you, can have a profound effect on your comfort and safety.

Go ahead and try it.  And let me know what you discover.

Want to try out a simple, 6-minute movement exercise to deepen your understanding of healthy turning?

Sign-up to receive my free gift: Checking Your Blind Spots for Bikers and gain a clear understanding of how to turn your whole self in one fluid action.  In just 6 minutes, you will feel a significant improvement in the quality of your movement—that means ease, comfort, and turning that will keep you safe while biking! This exercise is also great for any chronic pain in your upper back, neck, and shoulders.  To receive this gift, go to

To healtJacquelineh, vitality, & safer biking,


Read another post from Jacqueline about Hips and Shoulders




Comments (3)

  1. Dan Permalink  | Sep 19, 2013 03:33pm

    … look under your armpit rather than turn your whole body (and bike, too).

    … and/or *listen* (although those newfangled electric leave only tire noise to go on).

    But you’re right on about *awareness* – Situational Awareness is king and court of bike safety on or around the road.

    Now, if you could help me with this shoulder that I guess I just crashed on *too* many times… 🙂

  2. Dan O Permalink  | Sep 20, 2013 07:37pm

    … I know Jaqueline was talking about (physical) self-awareness. Here’s a tip (maybe still not to the point but pretty cool):

    Sometimes, when on the bike, don’t think about where you’re going, where you’ve been, or _even (maybe expecially) where you are_ (’cause where you are only exists in relation to those other places). Not one inch in front of you or behind.

    When you do this, you are simply “being”. It’s remarkably zen (or something like that). And when you do notice where you are, sometimes you don’t realize where it is even though you ride there all the time, and you wonder, “How did I get here?” You know that you must have ridden that stretch, but were somewhere else when you did. It’s really cool! As if Scotty got the transporter working.

    I’m going to read up a bit on feldenkrais – sounds interesting…

  3. Alan Hamilton Permalink  | Sep 23, 2013 02:48pm

    Do you wear the same helmet every day??? Simply install a rear view mirror on your helmet. I’ve been using one for years and wouldn’t ride without it. Use it the same as if you were driving a motor vehicle.