Cycling is becoming more and more popular, not only as a pastime but also, for some people, it’s the default means of getting around during their daily schedule. For instance, if you have the means of cycling into work each day, you can not only get exercise in before you start work, but you save money on fuel for a vehicle, you wake up by being exposed to the elements a little more, and you reduce your carbon emissions entirely. And a lot of students from the university as well as high school and elementary school aged students will be sharing the road with vehicles as they commute on their bikes to and from school.
Staying safe as a cyclist is an essential practice to consider, then, because most cyclists do have to share the roads with heavy hunks of metal piloted by people who may or may not be paying attention. It’s not enough to assume others will drive responsibly, it’s up to us to take our presence on the road as our right, but also to make sure that we give no one an excuse to ignore us. In this post, we’ll discuss three essential tips for staying safe as a cyclist:
Wear High-Visibility Gear & Helmet
High-visibility gear, be that a high vis jacket or other accessories and clothing items can be a great way of staying safe on the roads. Even in the mid-evening where the sun is still out and shining, this may make the difference between a driver seeing you or not. Even if that raises your chance of avoiding a collision by 0.1%, it’s worth your time to wear that garment and to make sure your bike is fitted with reflective lights on both sides. This way, you can remain perfectly visible and identifiable on the road, despite the smaller stature of a bike compared to a vehicle. And always remember to wear your helmet, since your bike doesn’t have airbags or seatbelts to protect you, your helmet is your main line of defense and protection.
Be Aware & Alert
Be aware and alert of your surroundings. This means making sure you’re fit to cycle. This might sound silly because we don’t usually associate dangerous road behavior with cyclists as opposed to those who might be driving tired or under the influence, but if you’re not in a clear and alert frame of mind, you probably shouldn’t be using the roads no matter how you’re travelling. This means making sure you get enough sleep, that you pay attention to audio cues, and you make sure you’re always observant before turning corners, giving clear arm signals to other drivers. And it’s extremely important that parents talk to young cyclist about riding in a vehicles blind spot. We want everyone to arrive safe and sound at their destination.
Know Your Rights
It’s good to know your rights when using the road, and especially when cycling. For instance, knowing what side of the road you’re able to use, what lanes are your right of way, how to signal appropriately, what concessions other cars should make, and more, can help you more readily defend your space on the roads which is ultimately there to keep you safe. Furthermore, in the event that something does occur and there is an incident you can more readily contact and build your case with a great bicycle accident attorney should someone put you in harms way despite you acting perfectly within your rights and safely on the road.
With this advice, we hope you can continue to stay safe as a cyclist no matter what.