Basic Safety Tips Every Cyclist Should Know

28
Dec
2018

Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable commuters on the road. Every year about 1,000 people die due to bicycle-related accidents in the United States. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 467,000 bicycle-related injuries happened in 2015.

Bikers have a high risk of getting into a road accident because of many reasons. There’s a lack of biking lanes in many cities, so cyclists have to contend with bigger vehicles and pedestrians for a place on the road. A lone cyclist is also harder to stop in a sea of cars, and drivers don’t usually look out for them on the highway.

With that said, every cyclist should know and follow these basic safety tips while on the road.

Follow the Highway Code

Rules were made for a reason. On the road, following the rules can mean your life and death. The Highway Code was created not to restrict drivers and commuters but to keep them safe. As a cyclist and commuter, it’s your duty to observe the rules of the road.

Sto on red lights, and follow road signs. Stay sober when you drive, and keep your attention on the road, not on your phone or other devices. Don’t be careless even if you’re riding a bicycle and won’t cause as big an accident as motor vehicles do.

Increase Your Visibility

With the sleek and small built of most bicycles, it’s easy for car and truck drivers to overlook cyclists on the busy road. Therefore, cyclists must increase their visibility, especially if they’re riding through high-traffic areas.

You must be visible for other motorists to notice you. Wear bright and reflective clothing and biking gear, such as a LED safety belt, a headlamp, a reflective helmet, or neon clothes. The attention-grabbing clothing won’t be effective if you stay in drivers’ blind spots, so to prevent accidents, avoid riding too close to any car or inserting in the inner corner when a vehicle is making a turn.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Driving requires your entire focus. This is also the same if you’re riding a bicycle. You have to watch out for other vehicles, pedestrians, and roadblocks. Even if you wear special gear to increase your visibility, there’s still a chance that the motor vehicle driver won’t notice you.

Always be aware of your surroundings. Take note of your distance from the vehicles in your surroundings. Don’t drive too close to cars and trucks, and as much as possible, avoid overtaking.

Stay Away from the Door Zone

It’s always good to stay in the bicycle lane when you’re riding. Unfortunately, bicycle lanes tend to be close to the car zone too. For cyclists, car doors are one of the most treacherous things to look out for on the road.

If you’re riding a parked car, slow down, and check carefully if someone is about to go out. Look out for signs of an opening car door, like brake lights, cab vacancy lights, and movement inside the vehicle. Sound your bicycle’s bell or horn to warn whoever’s inside that something is coming so they don’t suddenly open the door.

Wear a Helmet

Some places require cyclists to wear a helmet when riding, and for a good reason too. According to a case study by the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation, wearing a helmet decreases cyclists’ risk of getting fatal injuries in biking-related accidents.

In the United States, not all cities require cyclists to wear a helmet on the road. However, considering the risks of getting into a fatal accident, you, as a biker, should take safety precautions because you never know when one can save your life.

Avoid High-Traffic Areas

A bicycle may be easier to navigate than a motor vehicle is, but it will still be difficult for a cyclist to ride in a crowded area. If you want to have a smooth and safe drive, it’s better to avoid high-traffic areas, especially places that are crowded with pedestrians.

More than other vehicles, pedestrians are unpredictable and rarely follow restrictive rules on the street. They can suddenly stop, turn, or walk too slow or too fast. Plus, you’ll have a higher chance of encountering distracted pedestrians in crowded areas, which can be disastrous for you if you’re cycling in people-filled areas.

Use Clear Signals

Communication is vital on the road. If all drivers can communicate clearly and calmly with one another, there will be fewer incidents of road rage and vehicular accidents.

As a cyclist, you’re at a disadvantage on a road full of bigger vehicles. That’s why it’s twice as important for you to communicate your intentions clearly to other drivers, riders, and commuters.

If you’re turning at an intersection, slow down and check behind you if another vehicle is following. Use body language, like putting out a hand, to signal that you’re making a turn. Moreover, make sure that other drivers or pedestrians notice you and understand your intentions by establishing eye contact and using hand signals.

Ride on the Safe Side

Safety is your priority on the road. Don’t forfeit risk your safety for the sake of bypassing a slower vehicle or getting to your destination faster. All these won’t matter if you’re injured—or worse, dead. Learn how to ride defensively, and observe the Highway Code at all times.

Ride on the safe side by staying in your lane and wearing safety gear for biking, like reflective clothing and protective helmet. Finally, keep calm, and concentrate on riding and your surroundings to avoid accidents.

Improve Pacing

If you are a cycling enthusiast or looking to train yourself for long climbs or rides, using a power meter can be beneficial for you when you are on your bike. A power meter measures a lot of things including how hard you push your foot against the peddle and how fast you turn it. You will learn about yourself as a cyclist when you use this device as it can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses on the road.

Enjoy Your Ride
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