Bicycling has skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years. You’ve most likely seen biking lanes added to city streets and public parks along with scores of bicycle racks installed outside of businesses and public buildings. Since we’re in the middle of summer, maybe it’s time to dust your bicycle off and ride for a few miles each week.
The health benefits are plentiful, and it’s a great way to get out of the house. Before strapping your helmet and pads on, remember, there are several safety precautions to take when out on the trail or street.
Helmets and Pads
They may be uncomfortable and pricey at times, but a reliable helmet or set of knee and elbow pads should never go ignored. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a helmet can cut the chances of suffering a head injury by nearly half. Also, about 2% of deaths in vehicle-related accidents are bicyclists. If you happen to fall, suffering a small concussion is better outcome than a serious skull injury.
Follow Traffic Rules
You may be thinking that because you’re a bicycle rider, traffic laws don’t apply to you. This is FAR from the truth. Obey traffic laws as if you were driving a vehicle. Stop at stop signs and red lights, yield for street crossers, signal with an arm when turning and, most importantly, remain in the bike lane.
If you have a busy work schedule, the only time for bike riding may be at night. If so, wear a reflective vest for motorist to see you. Go a step further and mark your bicycle with some reflective tape.
Always Be Prepared
If riding during the day, think ahead and take some sunblock and a bottle of water. Be sure to also have a phone on you in case of an emergency. Riding while listening to music goes hand-in-hand, but avoid drowning out the sound of traffic. You never know when honking horns or shouts can help you avoid an injury.
Stay with a Group
Joining a bicycling club can be great fun. It can also increase safety as you can look out for your fellow riders and vice versa. If riding alone, avoid rural areas and try to remain within city limits. The more people around you, the better off you are if an accident happens.