Riding a bike is one of the best ways to get around. It is very green and uses no fossil fuels to power itself. If more people would ride their bikes to work, for example, then this would take hundreds of thousands of car trips off of the streets every day.
Riding a bike is also a great way to get around because of the freedom it gives you. There are areas where you can’t get to by car, or there is too much traffic but a bike will get you there. Then there is the feeling of the wind on your face and being out in nature that makes it so worthwhile.
The problem with riding a bicycle is that it can be quite dangerous. There are a number of safety issues that you need to be prepared for to make sure that you can get the most out of your bike. In this article, we will go over what you need to do to be able to ride safely.
1 - Follow road rules
When you ride a bicycle on the street, you need to make sure that you are following the rules of the road just like any other vehicle. It is easy to feel like you are not a part of traffic and are somehow separate, but the reality is that if you are on the road then you are part of the road.
It’s true that cars have to watch out for you just as they would have to watch out for other cars and trucks. Unfortunately, there are many drivers out there who would rather not have to share the road. They can be quite aggressive as the bike accident lawyers Lamber Goodnow can attest to.
If you are going through red lights as if they don’t apply to you since you aren’t in a car then you are setting yourself up for an accident. This applies to a lot of other road rules. Make sure that you pay attention to the road signs and traffic lights so you follow the rules of that stretch of road.
2 - Be visible
Some bicyclists feel absolutely invisible when they are out riding around. This makes it very dangerous at times when you can’t be seen. This is for both car drivers and pedestrians. If you are riding on the road and drivers can’t see you then you are risking getting hit by turning cars or at an intersection. Even if you are riding on a bike path, if you aren’t seen by other bicyclists or pedestrians then you could end up in a crash and get injured.
Make sure to wear reflective clothing so people can see you easily. Even during the day, a bright yellow vest over your jacket will help you be seen. At night you should definitely make sure to have plenty of lights on your bike and your helmet.
3 - Wear the right gear
The right gear may not prevent an accident but it will prevent you from getting seriously injured. This means wearing a helmet at all times at a minimum. Your helmet can be the difference between a fall that leaves you with bumps and bruises and a trip to the hospital with head trauma or worse.
In addition to wearing a helmet, you should also wear the right type of gear to make sure that you don’t get injured if you do end up in a crash. For instance, you can wear some elbow pads so you protect your joints which can be broken if you fall the wrong way.
The shoes that you wear can also help you prevent a crash. Avoid wearing flip-flops as they are actually dangerous and can cause a crash. Make sure that you wear shoes that can grip the pedal and will give your ankle support.
4 - Don’t ride distracted
A lot of attention is given to distracted drivers these days but bicyclists aren’t immune to this bad behavior. In fact, the results can be equally catastrophic when you ride distracted as you have less protection in an accident.
This means that you have to avoid doing things on your bicycle that aren’t involved with just riding it. Talking on the phone is a good example. You’ll have one of your hands occupied so avoiding a pedestrian, car, or even just an obstacle in the road will be difficult to do. If you really have to use your phone then pull off to a safe area and enjoy your call that way. Even using a hands free headset or Bluetooth earphones is not solving the problem as you are still distracted.
Listening to music on headphones is a bad idea too as you aren’t aware of important sounds going on around you. If there is an ambulance approaching and you can’t hear it then this is a dangerous situation to put yourself in. likewise if there is a car honking to get your attention and you don’t hear it.
Lastly, don’t eat while you are riding your bike. This is just like trying to talk on the phone and have a hand occupied doing something other than steer your bike. It’s simply not worth it to take a chance like that.
5 - Know your route
Knowing what to expect when you are on your ride is essential to being able to avoid an accident. For instance, if you want to stick to bike paths then you have to research the route that will allow you to not use the road much and can stay safe apart from it.
Also, if you do want to ride a bike path it pays to know if the condition of the path is bad or good, or if the path is simply a line marked on a street with no protection from the traffic.
Plan your route out and understand what to expect and you can avoid going places that are risky when it comes to accidents.