Cycling is not dangerous and most people can safely ride bicycles to their destinations without encountering any dangers. While cyclist fatality is a reality, the majority of cyclist fatalities occur on roads without bicycle facilities.
However, most people are afraid of road traffic, causing them to miss out on the benefits cycling brings. Cycling is a good form of exercise that lowers the risk of heart disease and improves mental health.
Understanding safety rules, and traffic controls, and taking precautions will help you avoid any accidents due to cycling.
How To Ride Safely
Cyclists should follow the same traffic rules that vehicles and pedestrians should. They need to stay in bike lanes and move when the green light says go. However, there are special riding precautions every cyclist should take to avoid any bicyclist deaths.
Pre-Drive Cyclist Safety
- Inspect your bicycle before riding. Seats should be at the proper height, and all gears must be working. Tires should be inflated properly.
- Front and rear lights must be working, and keep a spare just in case. It’s recommended to have white lights in front and red lights at the rear.
- Adding a horn or bell and a rearview mirror is also recommended. A bell will help you warn any nearby pedestrians and other motorists. A rear-view mirror helps you check what’s behind you before you make any left or right turns.
- Wear bright clothing, such as a neon jacket, to help drivers see you on the road.
- If possible, ride only during the day. If you’re riding at night, make sure your bike has flashing lights and you’re wearing reflective clothing.
- Ride when the roadway conditions are good. Avoid riding in extreme weather as the roads could be slippery causing crashes with motor vehicles.
- Always wear a bike helmet that’s snugly fitted on your head. Some countries, like the UK, may not require bicycle helmets but they are still a good safety precaution.
During The Ride
- The same traffic laws apply to bicycles and motorized vehicles. Always follow traffic signs and ride within speed limits.
- Stay within bicycle lanes and ride in one file towards the flow of traffic. Don’t ride near the sidewalk and try to stay in the center of the road.
- Stay alert for traffic signals and use hand signals to let motorists know where you’re turning especially if you are at intersections. Use pedestrian signals as needed.
- Watch out for pedestrians and try to make eye contact to make sure they saw you. If there’s no eye contact, assume they didn’t see you and be ready to brake or steer.
- If the traffic is at a standstill, you can ride past stationary vehicles. However, overtaking a moving vehicle is never advised because bicycles travel at slower speeds than other motorists.
- When riding through a parking lot or near parked vehicles, give ample room from doors to avoid being hit in case of doors accidentally opening. “Dooring” is a common bicycle accident because cyclists are often in the blind spot of the driver or passenger opening the door. Check if the parked vehicle is also about to leave so you can anticipate any movements and make adjustments accordingly.
- Avoid passing a vehicle on the left side because this is the driver’s blind spot and a common cause of being hit resulting in severe injuries.
- Always be on the lookout for potential hazards like puddles, debris, and potholes. If you’re riding in a group, call out when you see any hazards to alert the other cyclists.
Riding a bicycle is not as dangerous as you think. With the cycling safety tips above, you can start enjoying this great physical activity that keeps your body and the planet healthy. Next time you’re going to ride a motorized vehicle to get somewhere, try riding the bike instead. The planet and your body will thank you for it.
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Daisy is the engine behind Be-Safe.org — from content production to product reviews and more. What drives her is the passion to make home security information easily available.