Riding a Bicycle Can Be Extremely Dangerous - Here's How To Stay Safe
Bicycling is a great way to get around, save money on gas, and stay in shape, but it can also be dangerous. In order to stay safe while riding a bicycle, you need to know the rules of the road and follow them carefully. You should also always wear a helmet and other protective gear. Here are some tips for staying safe while riding your bike.
Understand What Causes Accidents
The vast majority of accidents are caused by human error. That means that they could have been avoided if the rider had made a different decision. The most common cause of accidents is riding into traffic. This can be avoided by always riding with traffic, not against it. Other causes of bicycle accidents include riding at night without lights, riding on the sidewalk, and riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For example, a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that riding a bicycle while drunk is about as dangerous as driving a car while drunk.
Wear Protective Gear
One of the best ways to stay safe while riding a bicycle is to wear protective gear. This includes a helmet, which should be worn at all times. It should fit snugly and be properly fastened. Other gear includes reflective clothing, which makes you more visible to drivers at night. You may also want to consider wearing gloves, elbow and knee pads, and shoes that cover your toes. For example, sandals or flip-flops are not appropriate footwear for riding a bicycle.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Just like motorists, bicyclists are expected to follow the rules of the road. This includes obeying traffic signals and stop signs, yielding to pedestrians, riding in a straight line, and using hand signals when turning. When riding on the road, you should ride as close to the right side as possible. You should also be aware of obstacles in the roadway, such as potholes, glass, and debris. If you must ride on the sidewalk, be sure to yield to pedestrians and give them plenty of space.
One of the best ways to stay safe while riding a bicycle is to be visible. This means riding during the daytime and wearing reflective gear at night. You should also have a headlight and taillight on your bicycle, and they should be turned on at all times, even during the day. If you are riding in a group, be sure to ride in single file so that motorists can see you. Additionally, avoid riding in blind spots and always use hand signals when turning.
Be Predictable and Courteous
When riding a bicycle, you need to be predictable. This means riding in a straight line and using hand signals when turning. You should also avoid sudden stops and starts, as well as weaving in and out of traffic. If you are riding on the road, you should ride as close to the right side as possible. For example, if there is a parked car next to you, ride behind it so that motorists can see you. When riding a bicycle, you should always be courteous to other roadway users. This means not cutting off drivers or riding in front of them when they are trying to turn. You should also yield to pedestrians and give them plenty of space when passing. In general, you should try to ride in a way that will not cause problems or interfere with the flow of traffic.
Signal Your Intentions
One of the best ways to stay safe while riding a bicycle is to signal your intentions. This means using hand signals when turning and changing lanes. You should also make eye contact with drivers so that they are aware of your presence. If you are riding on the road, you should ride as close to the right side as possible. For example, if there is a parked car next to you, ride behind it so that motorists can see you. Also, be sure to use your headlight and taillight when riding at night or in low-visibility conditions.
Riding a bicycle can be dangerous, but there are a number of things you can do to stay safe. First, wear protective gear, including a helmet. Second, follow the rules of the road and be aware of obstacles. Third, be visible by wearing reflective clothing and using lights. Fourth, be predictable by riding in a straight line and using hand signals. Finally, be courteous to other roadway users. By following these safety tips, you can help reduce the risk of being involved in a bicycle accident.