Cycling Safety: How to Stay Safe When Riding Your Bike

Cycling Safety How to Stay Safe When Riding Your Bike

There are over 130,000 bicycle accidents each year that lead to an injury, however, many of them can be prevented. Bike safety is just as, if not more, important as other transit precautions.

If you cycle often, occasionally, or want to try it for the first time, then you need to know how to protect yourself.

Read these cycling safety tips and what to do if you do get into an accident below.

Inspect Your Bike

Before you embark on your cycling journey, the most important safe riding tip is to inspect your bike. Make sure your tires are inflated properly, your brakes work, and your reflectors are straight. You also want to ensure chains and gears are in their proper place.

Take your bike for a test drive slowly in a safe location to make sure these elements work.

Wear Protective Gear

A bike accident can cause serious injuries whether from falling or getting hit by a car. Wearing protective gear reduces this risk.

Most states require a basic helmet when riding a bike. You can also add elbow and knee pads to your protective equipment list.

Add Reflectors to Your Body and Bike

The best way to prevent an auto accident is to use reflectors. Just like a car, bike reflectors act as a non-illuminated light. They don’t turn on but reflect the lights pointed at them.

So, if a car’s headlines reach your bike then their light will reflect back for the driver to see you.

Add as many reflectors as you’d like on your bike. Wear a reflector vest so that your body is also visible to car drivers.

Don’t Get Distracted

The easiest way to get hit by a car is to cycle distracted. Sometimes cars can’t see you, so you need to see them first. Obstacles may also get in your way, whether it’s a rock in the road or another bike, you need to be ready to change directions.

Avoid looking at your phone while peddling and keep your eyes on the path or road, not on the surrounding scenery.

Follow Traffic Laws

Riding a bike is just like driving a car; there are rules to follow for your safety. The general rule is to cycle like you are driving a car.

Use traffic signals, stop at spotlights and signs, and avoid reckless activities.

Since you are acting like you are in a car, then you should also bike in the same direction as the flow of vehicle traffic.

Use Designated Lanes and Paths

You also need to follow designated biking lanes and paths. Some paths are for walking only and should include a sign that prohibits biking.

While on a commercial road, stay in the bike lane if there is one. Otherwise, staying on the shoulder is the safest way to drive unless you need to make a lefthand turn.

Check your local bike path regulations and traffic laws to see the guidelines in your area.

Install Rearview Mirrors

Seeing behind you gives you a 360-degree view of your surroundings. You can tell if a car is coming behind you so that you can move out of the way.

Mirrors also assist with lane changes and turning, giving you a clearer picture of traffic.

Bring Your Cell Phone

When an emergency happens, you don’t want to be left with no way to get help. Having your cell phone allows you to call someone if you get in an accident, lose your way, or your bike malfunctions.

Carry a Water Bottle

Stay hydrated throughout your bike ride by always having a water bottle with you. This is especially essential if you are biking through a forest or away from commercial areas.

Drink water before your bike ride as well to hydrate before you begin to sweat. Then continue taking sips during your travels.

Have Some Cash

You never know if you will need some cash while cycling. That is why bike safety means always being prepared for any situation.

For example, you may lose your water bottle and need to buy one from a convenience store. Or you get lost in a new city and need to take a taxi or bus home.

Keep Your ID on Your Body

If a major accident occurs, knowing your name is important to contact family members and to know your medical records. Keep your ID on your body securely when riding.

However, having your whole wallet’s contents is not a good idea. You don’t want to lose or have your entire wallet stolen. Plus, you won’t need everything inside.

Get the Driver’s Attention

It is even more important to understand who has the right away when you are on a bicycle than when driving. Cars are bigger and faster so they can speed up quicker than you.

Never assume that a driver of a car sees you and understands that you are moving first. Instead, use hand gestures or even your voice to convey your decision.

What to Do After an Accident

No matter how many bike safety tips you follow, there is always a chance of an accident. Once an accident happens there are a few things you should do to limit your injury and get the help you need, including:

  • Call 911
  • Check for Major Injuries
  • Collect Witness Information
  • Contact Alpha Accident Lawyers
  • Complete a Police Report

In some cases, you may need to rely on the driver or witnesses to help you if you are severely injured. Preparing yourself for this scenario will improve your chances of a healthy recovery.

Learn More About Cycling Safety

If you want to improve your cycling safety capabilities, then you should be a skilled rider before you take on challenging roads. Learning more about how to drive safely before you take your bike out will prevent accidents. You can take a class on this subject and practice cycling often.

See more articles like this one by searching for cycling topics on our blog.

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