Paul's Totally Biased Recumbent Website
If you ride around like the invisible man, you're going to be roadkill in the near future. Recumbents are low to the ground. In spite of this, they are very noticeable because of their novelty factor. However, use a safety flag and preferably a fluorescent coloured helmet. If you have rear panniers, ensure they have reflective patches. There is no such thing as 'too bright.'
Speaking of helmets - it would be wonderful if our heads were so strong that we didn't need a helmet. It's true that, like an automobile airbag, they're not 'activated' very often. But when they are, they keep your brainy bits inside your skull.
Lights, reflectors, more lights, reflective clothing and a few more lights. Most of us are motorists as well as cyclists. How easy is it to see something or someone, dressed in dark clothing, without lights, when you're driving into oncoming headlights?
Tick one: Not Easy, Difficult, Bloody Impossible.
Use a flashing LED warning light front and back. Recumbents benefit from a Xenon Strobe (check legality in your State or Country.) The strobes are visible in daylight.
A motorist cannot avoid what he or she can't see. As cyclists we are sharing the roads with at least one ton of metal travelling at least twice as fast. Yes...you may be in the 'right.' But you could be 'dead right.' Not much comfort to the orphaned kids or grieving partner.
Richard Ballantine in his excellent book "Richard's 21st Century Bicycle Book" (PAN Books) Chapter 12, "Fast is Safe." has good advice. "Ride High - Ride Fast."
This means that in moderate to heavy traffic, you ride in the centre of your lane (unless there's a marked bike lane) and you ride as fast as you can.
It is not safe to skulk along hugging the parked vehicles and allowing vehicles to overtake. You will eventually be squeezed off the road, hit by a reversing vehicle, slam into an opening car door or suffer some other mishap.
Certainly some drivers will be offended by you asserting your right to a piece of bitumen. Be nice to them...when the price of fuel forces them onto a bicycle, they'll change their opinions.
At intersections, positioning yourself 'out' in the lane lets car drivers see you. If you hug the gutter, vehicles will draw alongside and hide you from traffic behind and to the side.
NEVER ride closer than a metre (yard) to a parked vehicle. Motorists open doors first and look behind after (if at all.).
Be observant, be fast and use your lane. You're not blocking traffic....you are traffic.
The best security is to have the bike with you. That's not possible a lot of the time so invest in a high quality U-Lock and use it according to the manufacturers instructions and common sense. A good lock is heavy. You can make life even harder for thieves by using two locks of different types. The theory is that thieves are usually equipped to deal with one type of lock, say defeating a U-Lock with a pry bar, and therefore will not have the tools to deal with (say) a cable lock as well.
Take valuables off the bike, (including the computer) and remove the fron wheel(s) and lock with the back to a fixed object. Make sure the bike and lock can't be lifted off a post.
You can fit a metal plumbers tee over a U-Lock lock mechanism to strengthen the lock http://www.ou.edu/oupd/ulock.htm
The 'Squire' Paramount lock is one of the strongest locks on the market http://www.student.uit.no/aissm/uk_para.html
Lock the bike in a well lit area with high volume foot traffic. You cannot secure a bike with 100% certainty. Make a note of the serial number (usually near, or on the bottom bracket) and include the bike on your house or car policy. Check the fine print - bikes are often not covered when away from home. Bicycle insurance is available but it's expensive. Learn from that - they are a high risk item.
The following link is not a recommendation - it may help give you an idea of likely firstname.lastname@example.org
Middleditch Insurance Brokers (03) 9819 1888 have a combined House/Contents/Bicycle policy. (No web page.)