Safety is a very real concern for avid cyclists. Even a simple brush up with a vehicle can have tragic results. Yet, for most people, the benefits outweigh the risks of cycling, whether it’s passion or convenience in transportation.
Maintain Your Equipment
Ensuring your bike is well-maintained is integral for staying safe on the roads or trails. Set aside a few minutes every time you’re preparing to venture out to ensure the brakes are working, the chain is intact, and your tires are filled with air.
Don’t put off bicycle maintenance, as even a simple issue can put you in a vulnerable position while driving on the road.
Watch Out for Debris and Hazards
The biggest concern for most cyclists is motor vehicles. However, hazards and debris on the road can also cause accidents. If there was a street hazard, such as a broken streetlight or uncovered drain, this could be evidence of negligence. (Source: https://www.hasnerlaw.com/atlanta/bicycle-accident-lawyer/)
These hazards are often surprising and unexpected. Be vigilant about looking ahead and safely avoiding debris.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Failure to follow the rules of the road puts yourself at risk. If you cause an accident by failing to abide by the rules, you could end up facing a huge lawsuit – on top of your own medical costs. Know the rules and don’t take any shortcuts. Complacency is a killer.
Stay Off the Sidewalk
Many cyclists prefer to bike on the sidewalk because it feels safer. However, doing so renders bikes practically invisible to drivers. This puts them at a higher risk of getting hit when a vehicle turns into or pulls out of a driveway.
If you’re unable to drive on the road, use a bell to alert pedestrians as you pass and be mindful of turning cars.
Never assume that someone can see you or will follow the rules of the road. Instead, drive defensively and be ready to slow down or stop at any time. Be mindful of cars turning ahead of you or potentially open a door into your path.
Use Headlights and Tail Lights
In some cities, cyclists are required to have headlights and tail lights. If you do not live in one of these areas, it’s still worth investing in these valuable additions to your bicycle. You can also get signal lights for enhanced safety. Consider leaving your lights on, even during daylight driving.
Install Aftermarket Mirrors
Rather than relying solely on shoulder checks, install some aftermarket mirrors to get a better idea of what’s happening behind you. These can be lifesavers when changing lanes or coming up to a stoplight.
Be Obvious in Your Intentions
Be a predictable cyclist. Don’t do anything surprising or unexpected. Signal any lane changes or turns you plan on making well in advance. Even if a driver isn’t familiar with the signals, they’ll be prepared for you to take some action. If an obstacle appears in front of you, avoid abruptly veering into traffic.
Wear Bright Clothing
Be a cyclist that isn’t afraid to be bold and wear the obnoxious yellow spandex that pays homage to the original X-Men. The brighter your clothing, the better your visibility. Add reflective tape to your outfit, and you’re ready to shine.
Avoid Sunrise and Sunset Cycling
Sunrise and sunset are dangerous times for cyclists. When the sun is low on the horizon, it can impede both cyclists and drivers’ visibility. This effect can cause an accident in the truest form of the word.
If possible, alter your cycling schedule to avoid peak sunrise and sunset hours. Consider shifting your schedule to 30 minutes either way to avoid the vision-impairing glare of the sun.
Protect yourself with these 10 life-saving safety tips.