Be a Safer Cyclist

by Alison McIrvin
Be a Safer Cyclist

One can’t help but notice every day in most cities and towns that there sure are a lot of new cyclists out there. However, along with the continued growth in cycling nationwide has been an increase in cycling related accidents. We are not just talking injuries from falls, but also tragic fatalities.

We can bring those statistics down, however, with a commitment to safety and changes in what you do before and during your next ride.

Before you even get on your bike, take care to address the following:

  • Properly inflate your tires: Know the proper psi recommendation for your particular tires and keep a bike pump on your bike for easy filling while on the road.
  • Check that the gears and brakes are working properly: This includes looking over your brake pads and replace them, if they are getting worn. It is an easy project to do yourself, so keep and extra set of pads on hand so that you don’t put it off
  • Know the rules of the road and respect them: Yes, you have a right to the road, but duking it out with a 2 ton vehicle is not in your best interests, regardless of how “right” you are. Cycling laws vary from state to state, so know yours.
  • Know where you are going: Plan out your route before leaving so that you are not making decisions on the fly.

Once you have your safety gear and have prepped your bike, you still have some critical things to think about while in the saddle:

  • Always wear a helmet. This one seems like a no-brainer, but there are still plenty of cyclists who seem to think this is optional. Make sure it fits well and has proper padding inside to insure that good fit.
  • Use bike lamps: A flashing LED headlamp with a strong battery is the way to go. A flashing rear lamp is also strongly recommended.
  • Wear reflective clothing front and back: reflective clothing or strips on your ankles are also effective at getting the attention of drivers. Do what you can to be as visible as possible.
  • Avoid busy streets or those with construction issues: Most safety issues have to do with the street conditions as well as traffic patterns. If you can choose an alternate route, do so for your own safety.
  • Always signal when turning: This sounds obvious, but many cyclists out there seem to forget this simple habit. When drivers have a better idea of where you intend to go, they can make better choice, as well.
  • Practice safe use of lanes: Although it seems safer, hugging the curb poses more of a danger as it leaves you less room to react and makes you more vulnerable to vehicles coming from your right. When on narrow roads, use the middle of the lane until things open up and allow you to move to the right.
  • Slow down when approaching cross streets and be sure to make eye contact with drivers as you
  • Take extra precautions on wet roads. Just as you do with your vehicle, remember that stopping and also turning pose greater risks when the roads are wet.
  • Keep an eye out for road debris: Gravel, glass, and even just organic matter from trees will all cause traction issues especially at higher speeds.

There are many more steps that you can take to increase your safety on the road. Check this blog out, it covers in detail various turns to be aware of and it is packed full of more details than what we can address here and it offers some tongue in cheek humor to boot!

Featured photo source:

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1 comment

Maria Johnson July 3, 2015 - 8:22 pm

Hi McIrvin,
thank you very much for sharing this article..these help me to be a safer cyclist.

Comments are closed.

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