Cycling is an activity every one should indulge in – this activity will improve your health, have you feeling good and it’s a lot of fun.
There’s some road bike safety tips you should be following, however, to protect yourself and you’ll find the top ones in this guide.
After you’re done reading I’m sure you’ll be more confident in your ability to stay safe when biking.
Protect Yourself With The Right Equipment
States have different regulations about safety gear, but most areas require the following:
- A bike helmet – Always wear one, even for quick trips down to the corner market. Your helmet should fit snugly without moving around when you shake your head.
- Horn or bell
- White headlight and red taillight – Necessary for riding in the dark or any time with limited visibility.
- Working brakes
- Reflectors – Both the front and back of your bicycle should have reflectors. It’s also important to wear reflective clothing, especially when riding in limited visibility.
For your own safety a good helmet is definitely the most important. If you’d like to check out my favorite road bike helmets, click below:
Prepare Before Riding
Make sure you are ready to ride before you begin. Use a bike that fits you properly and isn’t too big, which makes it difficult to control. Keep your bike in good shape with regular maintenance including keeping the chains clean and lubricated, regularly checking the brake pads to make sure your brakes work well, and keeping your tires properly inflated.
Bring along a mini tool kit so you are ready to perform minor repairs on the road. Carry all items safely by using a backpack or strapping them to the back of your bike. Also, keep your pants and shoe laces out of the way of your bike chain by tying or tucking them securely.
Always be aware of what’s going on around you and watch for road hazards such as sand, glass, gravel, snow, ice, parked cars, sewer grates, railroad tracks, and cracks in the road. Be on the lookout and give yourself plenty of time to react. Don’t expect to be given the right of way.
Learn How To Handle Traffic
Riding in heavy traffic is challenging because you need to interact with cars; when possible, avoid busy streets and rush hour traffic. Always be familiar with and follow traffic laws and cycling rules; these vary from state to state. The following tips can help you ride safely in traffic:
- Put away your phone – Don’t talk or text while riding your bike.
- Ride predictably – Ride in a straight line and follow the rules of the road to make it easier for motorists to safely drive around you.
- Don’t wear headphones – Listening to music while riding makes it difficult to hear approaching cars and pedestrians, and can be distracting.
- Stay right – Ride with traffic and stay on the right side of the road unless you are turning left. Use a bike line when possible.
- Ride single file – When traveling with other cyclists, stay in a single file line rather than riding two or three abreast.
- Avoid blind spots – Stay away from drivers’ blind spots, particularly at intersections.
- Hold on – Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
- Signal clearly – Use hand signal to indicate your intentions to others before turning, slowing down, or changing lanes.
- Look first – Check over your shoulder before turning, passing, or changing lanes.
- Stay sober – Avoid riding your bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Be alert – Pay attention to your surroundings and those around you.
- Be seen – Assume others don’t see you and try to make eye contact with drivers to make your presence known.
Here’s a video that explains further:
Pretty simple, right?
Most times, cars will pass you, but occasionally it’s the other way around. During rush hour, it is tempting to pass cars that are stuck in traffic; before doing so, make sure it’s legal for cyclists to pass on the right in your state. In many states, it’s not clearly addressed and you can get a ticket for doing so.
If you are able to pass on the right, do so carefully and only when you are sure it’s safe. Watch for motorists making turns and car doors. In the country, you may come across slow-moving vehicles like tractors. It is legal to pass them, but do so on the left obeying all traffic laws.
If you encounter a school bus with it’s red flashing lights on, you must stop until the lights go off. When you are stopped at a traffic light that won’t change, try putting your bike close to the sensor in the road to trigger the light. In some states, you can treat a traffic light that won’t change as a stop sign and proceed when safe. If that’s not the case in your state, then move to the crosswalk and use the pedestrian signal to cross the street.
Wear bright colored clothing when riding your bike during the day and reflective clothing when riding at night. Have someone help you check how visible you are to motorists before you ride at night. Use your horn or bell to alert people of your presence as needed. Avoid riding on sidewalks where you are not expected.
Riding At Night
Be prepared to ride at night even if you aren’t planning to do so. Carry a couple of lightweight blinking lights that you can attach to your handlebar and seatpost to make yourself more visible. Wear reflective clothing and add reflective tape to your bicycle.
Be constantly alert and ride slowly, watching for potential hazards that are less visible in the dark. It helps to shift your weight forward to the pedals so your legs can act as suspension to absorb things you don’t see. Wear sunglasses with clear lenses or safety glasses to protect your eyes.
Many bike paths are well-lit after dark and are a great choice if you are riding at night, just make sure you know when the lights are turned off before entering the path.
Improve Your Skills
Learning to ride your bike safely requires practice, just like developing safe driving skills. Take a class to help you improve your riding skills; schools, bike shops, recreation departments, and bike advocacy groups frequently offer on-bike safety classes. Then practice in a safe place away from traffic, such as a bike path, empty parking lot, or park.
Follow These Tips And Be Safe!
Biking is an excellent activity and has so many health benefits – plus it’s a lot of fun. There’s some safety tips you should follow, though, and the most important are included in this article.
If you take action on what you’ve read here you’ll protect yourself from serious injury.
Like I said before a helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment and you can check out the best available by clicking here.
Are you ready to hit the road this year?