Bicycle Safety Tips

Bicycling might be the true essence of freedom in transportation. No dependence on anyone to get around except yourself, no motor to make you drive out of control, and you can park your bike just about anywhere. Still, safety while riding a bicycle is just as important as with any other mode of transportation, especially when contending with motorized vehicles on roadways.

In the United States in 2015, there were over 1,000 bicyclist deaths, and nearly 437,000 injuries in which bicycles were a factor. Staying safe should be on everyone, but you are only responsible for yourself, so learning how to drive defensively is the key to true freedom in transportation.

Who is Most at Risk When it Comes to Bicycle Riding?

Most deaths of bicyclists occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations. It isn’t only the bicyclists in danger, either. Here are a few related facts, concerning those involved in bicycle-related accidents, as well as the bicycle riders themselves:

  • Adults from 50 to 59 years of age have the highest bicycle-related death rates
  • Adolescents and children have the highest rates of bicycle-related injuries that are nonfatal, which is more than one-third of all such injuries
  • Thirty-seven percent of bicyclist deaths are alcohol related, either for the bicycle rider or the driver of the automobile
  • Males are more likely to die and to be injured than females

How Can You Avoid Injury on a Bicycle?

The most obvious answer here is to drive safely and defensively. Always be on the lookout for other vehicles of any kind, as well as pedestrians. You certainly don’t want to be hit, but you also don’t want to be the person hitting, or pushing someone into traffic.

Safe bicycle riding also involves the proper equipment. Namely, finding a properly-fitted helmet to avoid head injury. Be sure to ensure any children with you also wear them. Follow all helmet-related laws and, even if they aren’t required, wear one anyway, even for short rides.

Do not wear loose-fitting pants while riding, to avoid getting your clothing stuck in the mechanics of the bike, which could cause personal injury or a potential accident. Wear fluorescent clothing and/or retro-reflective clothing, as well as reflective tape.

How Can You Prepare Your Bicycle?

If your bicycle isn’t already equipped with proper lights, be sure to have some installed. You should have red lights in the rear of the bike, white lights in front and, if possible, turn signals. Learning hand signals is critical, as well, but having lights is especially effective for night-time driving.

Adding reflective tape and other items to increase visibility to the bike itself will also help avoid accidents.

Summary

True freedom always comes with a little bit of preparation. You have to know how to handle your transportation freedom. You wouldn’t take your bicycle out onto a busy street before you knew how to ride it, so why not take the few extra steps to make sure you and your bike are prepared to protect yourselves and those around you?

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