Here are Miller’s tips for crossing each of five common types of metal road obstacles.Railroad tracks:After checking for trains, cross the tracks at as close to a 90-degree angle as you can and ride straight across without turning. “Sometimes this requires a swerving or repositioning action,” Miller says. “If so, be sure to scan and only do so when traffic is clear.”
Avoid riding over these if at all possible. Not only are they often slippery, but they can also be sunken or raised with hard edges that can cause flats. If you have to ride over one, ride straight and don’t turn or brake.
These gaping nightmares are best avoided and good reasons to not hug the curb while riding. “Sewer grates share the hazardous qualities of other metal fixtures, but depending on their design, can be even more hazardous,” Miller says. “Some sewer grates can trap your tire and cause a crash that way.” If it’s too late to take evasive action, ride across perpendicular to the grates.
“Cattle guards also require special care,” Miller says. “In some regards, they are similar to railroad tracks. You are best served by approaching them at a 90-degree angle, so your wheel cannot fall into the slots. Unlike a rail crossing, you will want to carry some speed over the cattle guard, as the bumpiness will slow you down. It can be best to stop pedalling and absorb the bumps with your bent arms and legs. If in doubt, you can dismount and walk across.”
A metal bridge should be safe to cross when it’s dry, but if the bridge is wet, use extra caution, and don’t brake or turn while crossing it. And remember – there’s no shame in getting off your bike. “If in doubt, dismount and walk,” Miller says. “You can always switch to ‘pedestrian mode’ if you feel unsafe on a roadway for any reason.”