Bicyclist Safety: How to Stay Safe When Out and About!
During the spring and summer, we’re exposed to more hours of daylight – that mixed with the warmer temperatures certainly helps to encourage all of us to get outside and take part in activities like a bike ride around the neighborhood, or a long walk while we listen to music or a podcast.
While those outdoor activities sure do sound nice and can often be harmless, pedestrian and bicycle safety needs to be a priority, and as a community we need to be vigilant about staying on the lookout for these people when we’re behind the wheel.
In 2020, 1,260 bicyclists were killed in the United States due to accidents, and more than 130,000 were injured – it’s figures like these that can turn a fun activity into quite the reason to stay home.
In this blog, we’re going to focus on bicycle safety, and how you and your family can stay safe while riding during the warmer months of the year.Click Here to Download Your Copy of Our FREE eBook!
Bicycle Safety 101
Bicycling is one of the best ways to get exercise, take in nature, and help reduce your carbon footprint.
However, at the same time, bicyclists, whether young or old, are prone to a slew of hazards. There are many towns and cities across the country that require bicyclists to share the road with motorists, and there’s times where injuries can occur even when riders are on their designated paths.
One common technique that helps ensure the safety of bicyclists is called the far hand reach, or the Dutch reach.
This is a simple maneuver used to stop drivers and their passengers from opening the doors of their vehicle in front of an oncoming cyclist. Here’s a YouTube video (below) that breaks down the move, for any who’d like to learn it:
Always Check Your Equipment
It’s important to make sure that the equipment you’re using while riding a bike function properly.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Your seat should always be adjusted to the proper height and locked into place.
- Make sure that all parts (wheels, handlebars, etc.) are secure and working properly.
- Check that your tires are fully inflated and have no holes or sources of leakage.
- Make sure to attach reflectors to the front and rear of the bike, as well as to the pedals and spokes.
- It’s also recommended to equip your bicycle with a horn or a bell, as well as rear-view mirror or headlight.
Make Sure You Can Be Seen
It’s also important to make sure that you’re able to stand out to motorists, increasing the likelihood that they will see you and can adjust to make sure no accidents occur.
Here are some tips on how to accomplish that:
- Wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright pieces of clothing.
- If possible, try to ride during the day and avoid riding at night.
- If riding at night is your only choice, wear reflective clothing/vest and use flashing lights.
Wearing a Helmet
We all know that wearing a helmet is a crucial factor in staying safe on a bicycle – while most adults notoriously dislike wearing helmets, we cannot urge you enough to put your pride to the side.
It’s even more important to make sure the helmet you purchase has been certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as one that can best protect you in case of an emergency.
Here are some bicycle safety tips from the NHTSA on how to properly fit a helmet:
- Make sure to adjust the sizing pads or fit ring until the helmet fits properly.
- Position the helmet level on your head, make sure it covers your forehead and is not tipped backwards or forwards – it should sit about two finger widths above your eyebrows.
- Adjust the side-straps to form a “V” shape under your ears.
- Center the buckle for the chin strap under your chin, making sure that it’s tight and no more than one finger can fit between both.
Always Follow the Rules of the Road
Finally, making sure that you’re well acquainted with the rules of the road can certainly play a large part in keeping both you, and your family, safe while riding a bike.
Here are some tips on how to stay abreast of the rules of the road:
- Look over traffic laws beforehand, as bicyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
- Ride in a single-file line in the direction of traffic.
- Remain alert and aware of your surroundings, keep your head up, and watch for any impending hazards as you approach.
- Use hand signals when turning and slow down at any major intersections you come across.
- Never – and we mean never – hitch yourself to a motor vehicle.
- Before entering traffic, come to a full stop. Look left, right, over both shoulders and if it’s safe, continue your route.
Bicycle Safety Tips for Children
It’s also important that we not only take the time to protect ourselves, but also our children, who may be learning to ride a bicycle for the first time or may still be inexperienced – with or without training wheels. Establishing these habits with your children while they’re young can certainly help them remember and use them as they get older — when venturing out with their friends, or riding by themselves.
Here are some bicycle safety tips for children:
- Make sure the type of bicycle you purchase matches the child’s abilities.
- For instance, it may be best to stay away from one which uses gears and shifts if your child is a beginner.
- In addition to that, make sure that the bicycle is the correct size for your child.
- Make sure to keep up with the maintenance of the bicycle – brakes, tire pressure and the like.
- Talk to your child/children about the dangers of wearing headphones while riding.
Another great area to cover with your children is the fact that, while it may be fun and exciting, it’s not a clever idea to have more than one person riding a bicycle at any time.
Although we’re sure that many people riding this have sat on the handlebars, or rode on a set of pegs, it’s not wise — if an accident should occur, the secondary individual is in a position to be considerably injured. Many local communities offer bicycle safety programs or even a bicycle safety course for families and children, this can be a great way to turn it into a family outing and all learn new information together!
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