Biking Safety 101: Five Essential Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Ride
Wear Protective Gear
Did you know that cycling accidents are one of the most common causes of concussions? Wearing a properly fitted helmet to protect your head, decrease the risk of head and brain injury by 65% to 88%. Therefore, a helmet is definitely your number one safety essential when it comes to protective gear when biking! Wearing a helmet, no matter your age or biking experience will be effective in protecting you in the case of a fall or collision. This goes for whether or not a motor vehicle is involved. Additionally, consider wearing reflective clothing and using reflective accessories to enhance your visibility, especially when biking during low-light conditions.
Follow Traffic Rules
Bicycles are considered vehicles on the road, so it's crucial to obey traffic laws - you should always be acquainted with the traffic laws of the country you are biking in, as a cyclist must follow the same rules as motorists. This will help you stay alert when riding in traffic. You should also keep your head up and watch out for potential hazards such as opening car doors or slippery roads. Always ride in the same direction as traffic, use hand signals for turning, and stop at red lights and stop signs. Be cautious when passing vehicles and give pedestrians the right of way.
Other than wearing reflective clothing to stay visible you should also make yourself visible to motorists and pedestrians by using front and rear lights, even during the day. Studies have been made that has proven that riding with visible bike lights (even during day time) is an effective measurement of increased safety in traffic. The accident rate has proven to be 33% lower for cyclists with bicycle running lights than for those without when it comes to riding with bike lights! Bike lights are therefore an important essential in staying safe on your bicycle.
Maintain Your Bike
Biking is great fun, but to make sure the bike itself is safe to use you should make sure its properly maintained. For example, if your bike isn't used regularly it can accumulate some problems from sitting still in storage - and regular tear and wear from daily use will also mean some things here and there will need to be checked and updated. With just a little bit of research you will quickly realise there are lot of effective and easy ways to keep your bike in prime condition, you just need to get familiar with a few basics. Regularly inspect and maintain your bike to ensure it's in proper working condition. Check your brakes, tires, and gears before every ride. For a detailed guide on maintaining your bike, check out this blogpost. By maintaining your bike you are making sure that for all the technicalities of the bicycle itself, you are safe and sound riding it wherever you want.
The last thing to consider for a safe tide is to think about how you are riding on the bike. Maintain a steady and predictable riding pattern to help drivers anticipate your movements. You do this by always signaling your intentions early and use hand signals to indicate turns and stops. You should as much as possible ride in a straight line and always check behind you and use signals if you are changing lanes. If you are riding in a parking lot, don't chase in and out between the parked cars.