The US is occurring more and more cycling enthusiasts. According to the US Census Bureau, in the past decade, we’ve seen a 60 percent increase in the number of bike commuters. And it’s easy to see why. Cycling offers many benefits for one’s short and long term wellbeing. In a 20-minute bike ride to work, one can get some exercise, enjoy the fresh air, avoid traffic, and do their small part for the environment. The popularity of recreational biking is also on the rise. The sport offers a low impact, challenging, and fun-filled form of exercise. Whether you’re young, old, commuter, or athlete, cycling is the perfect activity!
However, as a cyclist, you must take careful precautions when riding among traffic. Make sure to do your part in ensuring your own safety. No matter your expertise in the sport or your experience on busy roads, be sure to stay mindful of the dangers you face.
The Fundamentals for safe biking habits as listed by AAA Exchange, state:
- Be Alert. Always be aware of your surroundings. Continuously scan the road, check over your shoulder when turning, and take note your peripheral view.
- Be Wary. As you navigate the roads, stay defensive, and keep an eye out for vehicles, pedestrians, and others using the road.
- Be Seen. Make sure that people know you are there. Use front and rear lights, sound your horn, and use hand signals to alert turning.
In addition to the foundational steps toward safety, check out these ten tips for safe travel:
- Always wear your helmet. Helmet hair is certainly worth the safety benefits! Helmets reduce your risk of serious injury by 85 percent. So no matter how far your anticipated ride will be, make sure you don’t go without one.
- If you’re riding with a friend, ride in a single file with adequate space between your bikes. This will allow sufficient time to stop in an immediate instance!
- Always ride alongside traffic on the right side of the road. Ride in the shoulder if you must. But finding a proper bike lane is ideal! Check out the best towns for bike lane prominence.
- Avoid biking on busy roads, especially during rush hour traffic times. These criteria make you more vulnerable and prone to getting hit. Opt for quieter roads that are more likely to notice and allow space for cyclists.
- Properly maintain your bike. Keep your chains well lubricated and be sure to conduct periodic maintenance checks. This will lessen your chances of having a mechanical mishap in the middle of your ride.
- Use proper hand signaling . Just like a car, you must communicate with surrounding traffic. Let people know that you are there and where you’re heading.
- Recognize hazards. Road and weather conditions can pose several different types of dangerous hazards. These can include uneven road surfaces, foreign objects in the road, and slippery surfaces. Pay close attention to potential dangers and always stay alert, so you know what lies in your path.
- Avoid wearing headphones while you bike on busy roads. Skip the music and enjoy the sounds of the city, backroads, or wherever you might find yourself on a bike ride. Loud headphones could impair your ability to stay alert and notice potential hazards.
- Wear brightly colored and reflective clothing when biking at night. One of the most critical aspects of safe cycling involves drivers’ ability to see you. So, make it as easy as possible for them to do so with the proper clothing.
- Avoid biking at dawn and dusk. The lighting at these times of the day makes cyclists especially hard to see. You are disadvantaged by the lack of sunlight, and reflective gear will not be adequately effective.
Cycling serves a variety of purposes and lends countless benefits. However, while on the road, be sure to take special precautions for its inevitable dangers. Stay alert, wary, and seen among drivers. And if you are injured in a cycling accident, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Peach and Weathers for expert legal counsel. We are here to advocate for you and your safety.