For bicyclists, warmer temperatures mean more time spent doing what they love best. Unfortunately, more time spent on the bike leads to more potential for accidents and injury. Here are some ways to stay safe while you are cruising around on your favorite two-wheeled transportation.
- Wear that helmet. This one should be a no brainer, but so many bicyclists do not wear helmets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a helmet is your best protection against traumatic brain injury, which is the primary cause of death from cycling accidents. With the variety of helmets on the market, it should not be that hard to find one. New helmet technology like MIPS, or multi-directional impact protection system, works to cut down on rotational forces resulting from some types of impact. If you are in an accident, this may protect you from certain injuries.
- Make sure your bike fits you. A bike that is too big or too small makes for an awkward ride. It also could make your bicycle harder to control. NHSTA states that you should have one-two inches of clearance between you and the bar, or a five-inch clearance for a mountain bike.
- Maintain your bike. Before you go out riding, check that your tires are inflated, your handlebars are secure, and that your brakes work properly. Some repairs you may be able to handle yourself, but if your brakes are not working correctly, you may want to take it to a bike shop.
- Stay visible. As a bicyclist, you most likely ride in traffic sometimes. Ensure you are as visible as possible. Wear bright colors when you are biking. Most bikes come with reflectors, but if yours did not, you can install some. Reflectors help increase your visibility, if you do any riding at night.
- Remain alert. Wearing headphones while bicycling blocks out any traffic sounds. Avoid doing it. Keep your eyes open for any obstacles like potholes, railroad tracks, debris on the road, or anything else your bike could crash into. NHSTA also recommends when you cross railroad tracks, do so at a 90-degree angle and move slowly. If you are riding in traffic, you want to pay attention to the cars around you. Just as drivers are told to drive defensively, you should also ride your bike defensively.
Riding your bicycle is a wonderful way to enjoy the warmer weather and get some exercise. If you follow these tips, it may keep you safe while you ride.