Riding a bicycle is a great form of exercise. Not only that, but it’s a great way to spend more time outdoors, and it can be a great way to get to your destination without making your carbon footprint bigger. Not to mention, it’s a much more affordable way to get around than owning and driving a car!
That doesn’t mean everything about riding a bicycle is positive. It can be extremely easy to get injured if you find yourself in a bicycle accident, but only if you don’t follow the tips on this list.
1. Ride as if You Were in a Car
One of the smartest things you can do when riding your bike is to follow the rules of the road. According to the skilled attorneys at Hasner Law, “Cyclists must adhere to the same rules of the road, including following posted speed limit signs, stopping at stop signs, and using signals.”
It’s easy to feel like you can cross the street if no one is coming or you can simply turn when you reach the corner, but doing these things make your riding unpredictable. If a car is coming up from behind and the driver doesn’t know you’re turning, or you don’t see the car and you attempt to ride across the street, you’ll find yourself in an accident. Signal your turns, stop for red lights, and pay attention to all the signs that drivers must look out for.
2. Know the Rules for Bicycles
In addition to following the same rules that vehicles have to follow on the road, there are some rules that are specific to cyclists. It’s important to know these rules if you want to avoid an injury.
For example, no matter how busy the road is, cyclists should never ride on the sidewalk. You might avoid an getting into an accident with a vehicle, but you’ll increase your chances of getting into an accident with a walking pedestrian.
A few other rules you will want to follow include:
- Ride as close to the right side of the road as possible
- Never ride more than two abreast, except on designated bike paths
- Never transport more people than what the bike is equipped for
3. Avoid High Traffic Areas
Biking in the city is a great way to get around. In really busy areas, you may even be able to get to your destination faster on a bicycle than in a car! However, that doesn’t mean it’s safer.
It’s important to plan your route carefully, especially if you are riding in the city. If it’s possible, you should avoid high traffic areas. For example, instead of riding through downtown, see if you can find a bike trail and ride around the center of downtown, or see if you can find a park that you can use as a shortcut.
The type of traffic matters as well. For example, stop and go traffic is a lot less dangerous than highway or interstate traffic, even if there are technically more cars on the road.
4. Wear Something Reflective
Just because you’re riding a bike doesn’t mean you have to wear biking shorts and a fancy cycling jersey. You can actually wear cute clothes, which makes biking to work or a social gathering a lot easier.
However, there are a few things you can quickly and easily add to your outfit to make your ride easier. Wearing something reflective can make it a lot easier for drivers to see you both at night and during the day.
Reflective shirts and pants will work, but there’s no need to alter what you wear so drastically. You can also find reflective wristbands and ankle bands, as well as jackets and stickers that can easily be removed when you get to your destination.
5. Light up Your Bike
Not only is it a good idea to make sure you’re more visible to those driving vehicles, it’s also a good idea to make sure your bike is more visible too. The best way to do that is to add lights to your bike.
Lights can be added to the front and back of your bike, and you can also purchase a light that can be clipped to your helmet, which can make night riding easier. Choose waterproof lights, make sure you use batteries that will give your lights a long life, and keep the lights clean to ensure they can easily be seen on the road.
6. Wear a Helmet
No list of safety tips for cyclists is complete without mentioning the importance of wearing a helmet. Wearing one protects your head and it protects your brain. Just make sure you choose the right helmet.
An ill-fitting helmet won’t protect your head like it should. One that is being worn improperly won’t protect you either. Make sure you choose a helmet that fits your head properly, adjust the straps so your helmet fits snugly, and make sure you don’t accidentally wear your helmet backwards!
7. Wear the Right Shoes
Many riders, especially those commuting to work and social gatherings, give very little thought to shoes, but choosing the right shoes when you’re riding is important.
If you plan on going fast or riding in traffic, it’s a good idea to wear closed toed shoes. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear sandals at all! There are a lot of great biking sandals to choose from out there. Choose sandals that have a back, as slides and flip flops can cause your feet to slip on the pedals, which can increase your chances of experiencing an accident, as well as increasing your chances of injuring your feet.
There’s no doubt that riding a bike is a great way to get around, but it can also be dangerous. Don’t let that stop you from hopping on your bicycle! With the tips on this list, you can ensure you stay safe, whether you’re hitting the trail or riding in town.