Riding a bicycle can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get engaged in physical activity. However, if you allow yourself to develop unsafe habits, you may end up getting injured. By following the safety guidelines outlined below, you’ll be able to better protect yourself against the hazards that all bicyclists face on the road.
The Do’s of Bicycle Safety
- Wear Protective Gear – The most important rule for staying safe is to wear all of your protective equipment. This includes a properly fitted helmet, as well as knee and elbow pads. Wearing a helmet can lower your risk of developing a head injury, including traumatic brain injuries, by up to 85%. Always examine your helmet before riding to ensure there are no cracks in the exterior and that the interior is free from tears and other defects.
- Adjust Your Seat – If your seat is at the wrong height, that can make it difficult for you to properly maneuver your bicycle. Position yourself on the bicycle and stand with one foot on the pedal. The opposite leg should be fully extended yet have a slight bend at the knee. This will ensure a comfortable—and safe—riding position.
- Inspect Your Bicycle – Before each ride, you should take the time to look over your bike to ensure it’s in good working order. The handlebars should be secure when held in place and allow you to turn the front wheel easily. Both wheels should be secured to the bike as well and should be aligned with the frame, so they’re straight. Also make sure the chain fits correctly and is lubricated.
- Obey the Rules of the Road – You should always ride with traffic, sticking to the right side of the road. If there isn’t a shoulder or bicycle lane, stay as far right as you can. Additionally, stop at intersections, just as you would if you were operating a car. Don’t forget to look out for pedestrians as well as motor vehicles.
- Wear Reflective Clothing – Try to wear bright colors at night in addition to reflective clothing. While you should always wear reflective clothing, this is especially true if you’re going to be riding after dusk. Darker clothing will make it harder for other drivers to spot you on the road.
The Don’ts of Bicycle Safety
- Don’t Tailgate – While a bicycle accident attorney may warn that tailgating can hurt your chances in recovering damages, the larger concern is for your safety. Getting too close to a motor vehicle in traffic can cause you to become injured or worse.
- Don’t Grandstand – It may seem like fun but showing off on your bicycle in traffic can end up causing an accident. You should properly ride your bicycle on city streets, keeping your hands on the handlebars at all times. Save tricks and stunts for bicycle parks designed for those activities.
- Don’t Carry Others – Leave your pet at home and resist the urge to “piggyback” others on your bicycle. Unless it has two seats, your bicycle is only intended to carry a single rider and no more. Carrying a pet or letting another person ride with you can make it harder to steer.
- Don’t Ride Against Traffic – Riding against traffic may seem safer because you have eyes on approaching vehicles, but it’s actually more dangerous than riding with the flow of traffic. One reason for this is that drivers pulling out into the intersection are less likely to see you. They will be watching for oncoming traffic, which will be to their left. As such, they won’t be looking in your direction and will likely strike you as they pull into the lane. Another reason is that head-on collisions can be much more devastating than if a car were to clip you from behind.
- Don’t Ride During Stormy Weather – While you may sometimes get caught unexpectedly in rain, try to avoid this when possible. You should check weather reports before going out on your ride, especially if it looks cloudy outside. Riding in the rain comes with many risks including less visibility and control.
Bicyclists are much more susceptible to injuries than motorists because they don’t have the benefit of a steel cage. While a bicycle accident attorney can help you receive compensatory damages in an accident, it’s much better to protect yourself against the possibility. By practicing safety first and obeying the rules of the road, you’ll be much safer on the roads. If you do get into an accident due to the negligence of another person, contact Lalezary Law Firm right away for legal protection.