Flowers aren’t the only thing that come out in Spring – you’re likely to notice more bicyclists out and about as well. An estimated 30% of Americans own bicycles, and 45% of them ride at least occasionally.
If you’re behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to keep an eye out for bicyclists – but there are also several safety tips you should keep in mind if you’re the one actually on the bike.
First, you should check your bike before riding it. Make sure that there aren’t any issues that might prevent you from traveling safely. Once the bike checks out, put on a helmet. Wearing a properly fitted helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by 74-85%.
Don’t wear loose clothing when riding a bike. It can get caught in the bike’s chain, gears or breaks. In fact, you should consider clipping your pants to make them fit closer to your legs. If you’re riding at night, wearing reflective gear is highly recommended.
When riding on the road, stay on the right side and ride in a straight line. You should ride in the same direction as traffic and take less-traveled routes so you won’t have to compete with larger vehicles for a piece of the road. When riding past parked cars, keep a car door’s width of distance from them just in case somebody opens the door as you go by.
There are some rules that apply whether you’re in a car or on a bike, such as never assuming that other drivers can see you. When bicycling, you are also obligated to obey traffic signs and signals. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights. You should obey the two-second rule, as well. When a car in front of you passes a fixed object, begin counting. If you reach that same object in less than two seconds, you’re following too closely.
The number one safety tip no matter how you travel, though, is to be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for cars, bikers and pedestrians at all times – because you never know if they’re watching out for you.