Riding bicycles is a fun way to stay healthy and enjoy having an independent form of transportation. As much as it seems like child’s play, it is a vehicle that takes to the roadways with cars. It is a call to action to learn all about biking safety.
Many bicycle crashes are preventable and the result of bicyclist error. They include not wearing a helmet, rolling into an intersection, swerving into traffic, and riding against traffic. Follow the rules of the road and wear a helmet to keep safe. Here are more tips to staying safe while riding a bike.
Repairs And Inspection
Before taking to the road next time, invest a few extra minutes to inspecting your bicycle. Make sure that the brakes work, tires are properly inflated, the chain is catching properly, along with ensuring all parts are securely attached.
Do have a small repair kit with you at all times, which includes inner tubes and a patch kit. Learn how to pop a chain back on a bike, replace the inner tubes, and patch a tire before you ride a bike a long distance from home. You will be glad you did.
Adjust Your Bike
Be sure that your bicycle is at the proper height for your individual stature. When standing over your bike’s bar, ensure there are 1-2 inches for a road bike and 3-4 inches for a mountain bike. The seat needs to be even from back to the front. The seat height needs to allow a slightly bent knee when your leg is extended fully. The seat and handlebars need to be at the same height.
Wear A Helmet
Protect your head from impact by wearing a helmet. If you take a tumble off your bike without a helmet, you could end up in a coma, or with a concussion. Even if you are wearing a helmet, your brain can suffer damage from jostling around against your skull, but you would suffer less damage than without the helmet. The National Highway Safety Administration provides tips to learn how to secure a bicycle helmet properly.
Reflectors, Lights, And Reflective Clothing
Always make yourself visible to motorists, other cyclists, and pedestrians when you go out for a ride. Wear light, reflective clothing and include flashing lights or reflective tape on your bicycle. Keep both hands on the handlebars at all times. If you need to carry anything with you, use a basket or clip.
In addition to watching out for motorists, keep your eyes peeled for roadway hazards. Gravel, broken glass, potholes, leaves, and puddles can all cause you to crash. If you ride along with friends or a group, call out hazards as you notice them if you are at the leader of the pack.
Whenever possible, limit your rides to daylight hours. Otherwise, it is more difficult for drivers to see you. Many drivers have night vision issues, and wearing dark clothing on a bicycle at night makes you an easy target. So, if you must ride in the dark, have reflectors or blinking lights on your bike, and wear reflective vests or clothing.
Know The Rules And Follow Them
Many states rightfully consider a bicycle a vehicle where the cyclists are expected to follow the same rules as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Always ride with the flow of traffic, and obey the traffic laws. Follow the lane markings, street signs, and treat your bike like the vehicle that it is. Otherwise, you could find yourself facing traffic fines or injury.
Yield to traffic, in particular if you are on a smaller roadway, waiting for highway traffic to stop pouring onto the street. Always check both ways are clear before entering a roadway.
Also, be sure you respect pedestrians who are on foot. They are sharing the same road with you. Yield to them if they have already entered the crosswalk.
Do not ride like a loose cannon on the streets. That means once you start in one trajectory, keep the same line. Ride in a straight line rather than weaving in and out of traffic. Be on the lookout for hazards from other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, stray or wild animals, potholes, leaves, or just inclement weather.
Before entering roadways use hand signals to indicate the direction you are heading. Also, keep a look out for parked cars and other stationary objects to avoid crashing. Keep sufficient distance from parked cars because you do not want to be knocked into by a car door swinging open or pulling out.
Also be careful and mindful of erratic behavior from pedestrians as well. They may dart into the street, or go from running to suddenly stopping.
The idea is to be prepared safety wise with proper equipment and well-maintained equipment every time you ride. Follow the rules of the road and enjoy the ride.