It can be dangerous out there whether you are a bicyclist, pedestrian or even driving your car. We are not trying to scare you here just to give you some common sense safety precautions. Here are a few safety tips that ca help keep you safe while bicycling and sharing the road.
- Pay Attention: Focus on your primary task, riding your bicycle and getting to your destination safely. Do not let distractions such as cell phone put you at risk. Using an iPod or radio while bicycling will reduce you ability to hear what is happening around you and is not recommended.
- Obey the Law: By following traffic laws bicyclists become much more predictable to motorists and reduce the risk of a fatal accident. This also includes yielding right of way to pedestrians and NOT riding against traffic (sometimes called Salmoning, like the fish going upstream).
- Stay Off Sidewalks: Many if not most negative automobile vs. bike accidents happen when cyclists are leaving sidewalks and are entering or crossing the flow of traffic. Drivers do not expect high speed traffic, you on a bike, coming from the sidewalks.
- Wear a Helmet: If you drive for long enough you will likely have some kind of accident. If you bike long enough you will likely have some kind of accidents. You are much more vulnerable on a bicycle even at very low speeds, so wear a helmet.
- Stay Visible: Make sure that you meet the legal requirements of your state/community for bicycling in low light conditions or after dark. These generally include reflectors and headlights. Adding additional tail lights and bright or reflective clothing can only help.
- Maintain Your Bicycle: Just like your car, your bicycle needs to be taken care of and occasionally tuned up. having your breaks fail as you are approaching a busy intersection could be fatal. Many bicyclists do their own frequent maintenance or take their bikes in for an annual tune up at the beginning of the riding season.
- Be Smart: Keep you eyes and ears open and use common sense. You are riding a bike that weights less than 30 pounds, that car cutting you off weight several thousand. Bicyclists seldom win arguments with cars or trucks.