Riding a bicycle is a fun activity to get places and lose some weight. But, since you cycle on the road amongst other vehicles, it is crucial to follow the safety rules of the road. Moreover, riders must learn to protect themselves as a bike does not provide as much protection as a car.
So, if one is not careful, then it could lead to disastrous and life-threatening accidents. Safety is a paramount concern in the cycling community, and it should not be taken lightly.
While seasoned riders know the dangers and know their way around to protect themselves and others on the road, it is essential to instill good safety habits in beginners from a very early stage.
Learning to be safe on the road requires a lot of knowledge and insight from experienced riders. Websites like bikelvr.com have an in-house team of life-long riders who publish interesting articles and guides about everything related to cycling and even about safety on the road.
Here are some tips to stay safe while cycling
1. Wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet is more important than anything else when it comes to riding a bicycle. While wearing a helmet is not a sure shot way to ensure your safety, it indeed does reduce the damage to your head. A high-quality helmet would improve your odds in the case of an accident.
2. Be seen
Forget your stylish dark and grey statement clothes while riding a bike on the street. Always wear a fluorescent vest with ample reflective tapes. You must be visible from a mile away to the rest of the traffic. It reduces the chances of other vehicles not noticing the tiny bicycles amongst other heavy vehicles.
3. Install rearview mirrors
If you often tour long distances on your bicycle, installing rearview mirrors on the handlebar is best, as it helps you see the traffic behind. This will also eliminate the need to swerve your head backward to change the lane.
4. Ride with a partner
Find a fellow cycling enthusiast and go on rides with them; the more, the merrier. A group of cyclists is more visible on the road than one, reducing the risk of other vehicles bumping into you. Moreover, in case of an emergency, you have your peers to support you and vice-versa.
5. Stay away from car doors
If you commute to your office on a bike through narrow city lanes, stay away from car doors. You never know when someone might open the car door from inside. As a precaution, maintain three feet distance from a parked car while riding in city traffic.
6. Plan your route carefully
When you plan a tour on your bicycle, carefully check the route and the alternatives. The aim is to get there in perfect shape rather than getting there faster. So, always opt for routes with proper cycling lanes and marking. It is better to creep through slow and crowded cycle lanes in a city than riding on a highway without any cycling lanes.
7. Carry patch kits and other essential tools
For smooth sailing on the road, always be equipped with the essential tools. So, carry a patch kit to fix your flat tires. Also, have some basic tools to fix any other issues in the bike. You can place these tools and equipment in a clip-on bag on the cycle’s frame or below the saddle.
8. Learn the hand signs
Cyclists use different hand gestures to denote their movements and maneuvers to other cyclists and vehicles behind them. These hand gestures are used to alert others about any turns or if you are slowing down. So, learn these cycling hand signals for a better, safer experience on the road.
9. Follow the rules
Some cities can levy a fine if you are ever caught cycling on the sidewalk, while in some, it is totally acceptable. However, when biking on sidewalks, ensure you ride slowly and keep both hands on the brakes to avoid any accidental collisions with pedestrians. Keep yourself updated with the rules regarding cycling in your city.
10. Never ride without the essentials
While packing light is the best when going for long tours on a bicycle, carrying the essential items is crucial.
You must carry items such as a water bottle, small first aid kit, Id card, some cash, patch kit and tools, protein bars, and your cellphone.
If you learn how to ride responsibly, then cycling is the most enjoyable activity. You should always be alert and cautious of your surroundings while riding. Most beginners often overlook the weather, so ensure you check the forecast, and if it is going to rain, you better take the bus to work.