How to Stay Safe When Riding Your Bike

The roads – even gravel roads – have become tremendously dangerous for cyclists. Here are some tips to keep yourself safe when riding your bike.

Make sure your bike is in proper working order.

There are so many dangers, don’t let your own bicycle be one of them. Bolts should be tight, tires should be in good condition and have proper air pressure, and your brakes and shifting should be operating smoothly.

Make yourself visible with lights and bright colors.

Put lights on the front and rear of your bike. Wear bright colors. Reflective strips.

In some places, lights are a legal requirement.

Wear a helmet and sunglasses.

A helmet could save your life in a bad crash. Sunglasses protect your eyes from flying insects and debris. They also help to ensure you have good visibility.

Install a rear view mirror.

It’s very helpful to be able to quickly see what’s coming behind you.

If you have the money, also consider a Garmin Varia radar system.

Carry tools and a spare tube.

Should you have trouble, this should fix you up.

Carry ID.

Have ID on you in case of emergency.

Be mindful of your surroundings.

Pay attention to what’s going on in your surroundings.

Limit distractions. That means, no music (especially no headphones) and no texting.

Know the rules of the road.

Cars have certain rules. Cyclists have certain rules. Pedestrians have certain rules.

As a cyclist, you are as frail as a pedestrian, but you have to ride (drive) your bicycle as a vehicle.

Here are the relevant laws for cyclists.

Learn the local drivers’ behavior.

Arguably more important than knowing the actual rules of the road, is knowing how the local drivers typically behave.

Ride as if you are a car.

Act like a car. Ride on the right side of the road, with the flow of traffic, as you would drive. Don’t ride on the sidewalk.

Drivers are expecting to see you in certain places. If you surprise them – by riding out in front of them from the sidewalk for example – it could end badly.

Use hand signals.

On crowded roads, do you best to alert others to your intentions. (As long as you can safely remove a hand from the bar.)

Use bike lanes.

When at all possible, use bike lanes.

Choose your route wisely.

Favor low-traffic roads with a wide shoulder.

Leave a Reply