Couple of strategies for bike commuting in Istanbul I’ve learned over the past year:
- Know your route. you need to use 100% of attention to watch what people/cars/buses/teyzes are doing around you. if you’re looking for your turn, you’re probably gonna rear-end a bus or take out a stroller
- Rush hour is your friend. Standstill traffic creates several impromptu bike lines, but watch out for pedestrians with the same idea.
- Sidewalk when necessary. It’s painful for me to write that, especially after 4 years of bike commuting in the States, where cyclists tend to cede the road to cars too easily, but sometimes it’s necessary in Istanbul. Curb-hopping is an essential skill for the Istanbul bike commuter.
- Always be prepared for an abrupt stop. Speed-check on downhills, even when ostensibly clear.
Regardless, get out there on a bike! You’re not gonna die… and if you do it’s for a good cause.