Responding to this post on safe cycling, a reader wrote and reminded me that its best to wear reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to motorists.
That definitely should have made the list.
I often ride with a backpack when commuting to work and had reflective material sewn onto it to increase the chances that a motorist will see me. It's particularly useful in winter, when I often head home after dark.
Look and listen
First of all, pay 100 percent attention, just as you would while driving. Use your senses--often you can hear an engine in advance of the car, and see or hear a dog before it chases. Problem sounds include tires squealing, hard engine acceleration and loud music from an open window. If I hear these I pull over to let the vehicle pass.
Looking behind you without swerving is an essential skill. For new riders, simply glancing back with your hands on the brake hoods may work, but this method often causes the bar to turn in the direction you're looking. This way is better:
To look left, move your right hand toward the center of the handlebar near the stem, then drop your left hand off the bar as you turn your head to look back. Track racers use this technique when doing a Madison relay change. Watch the Madison at the Olympics this year--magic bike handling. Keep your upper body relaxed the entire time and practice, ideally in an empty parking lot with lines you can follow.