Based on some reports regarding bicycle accidents, only a small percent involve impact with a motor vehicle. This does not reduce the fact that cycling can be dangerous, even within residential areas where motor vehicles are numerous. There are some basic safety tips to keep in mind even if you don’t venture far from your residential block.
1.Always Inspect Your Bicycle
This is the first step you should always take before getting on your bike. Inspect the brakes and make sure that there are fully functional, and then inspect your reflectors as well. Be sure that the spokes are not bent as they support the frame of your tires.
2. Wear A Helmet
Helmet use is estimated to reduce instances of cyclist head injuries by up to 50%. Considering that the leading cause of cyclist deaths are head injuries, the wearing of a helmet should be taken very serious by all bikers, and not just left for children. Wearing helmets can also reduce the risk of other injuries, including to the face and neck.
3. Wear Brightly Colored Clothing Or Reflectors
One of the leading causes of car and bicycle crashes, especially at intersections, is the invisibility of most cyclists to motorists. Most motorists are used to watching out for oncoming motor-vehicle traffic before making a turn, but there are still those that will fail to notice a cyclist. This makes the wearing of brightly colored clothes or reflectors, a necessity.
4. Use Front White & Red Tail Lights
The same invisibility of cyclists to motorists makes it a requirement by law that every cyclist riding at night should use white headlights and red tail lights. Not only will you see better at night with your headlight, oncoming motorists will also see you approaching.
5. Learn The Traffic Rules
In most places, cyclists are expected to share the same roads with other motorists. Although motorists are required by law to learn the traffic code before getting a driver’s license, cyclists are not, and yet they share the same roads. It will therefore increase your safety as a cyclist, if you understand the traffic rules. This is because you will now be able to understand what the other motorists are doing.
6. Learn & Use Hand Signals
After you have learned and understood the traffic rules, the next step is to learn to signal to motorists and other cyclists using hand signals. Unlike the traffic rules, hand signals are quite easy to learn. You just need to practice the signaling more often, so you can get used to it.
7. Learn to Keep A Safe Distance
Dooring accidents are quite common in residential areas. The only way to avoid a car door surprisingly opening in front of you, is to keep a safe distance from the car. In fact, you should always ride with enough space to the left of all cars, including parked ones, because you may never know when someone decides to open a door.
8. Get off at Pedestrian Crossings
It’s advisable to always get off your bike and walk whenever you are crossing a pedestrian lane. Should you be in the Chicago area and find yourself having been injured while crossing a pedestrian lane, you could always contact Abels & Annes for assistance with potential personal injury claims. However, walking across the lane should make it much safer than riding across.
9.Always Slow Down At Intersections
According to statistics, only about 11% of bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car. The alarming fact is that 45% of those cyclist and motorist collisions occur at intersections. The advice is for you then as a cyclist, is to always completely slow down at every intersection, and then look well before continuing.
10. Forget Headphones & Earbuds
Headphones and earbuds are not allowed to be worn by any cyclist, as regulations require that a cyclist should maintain 100% focused on the road, just like motorists are required to.
Cycling is a healthy mode of transportation, but it is also quite a risky one, especially inside the cities and residential areas. To reduce these risks, the serious cyclist should pay attention to the top 10 cyclist safety tips above, and also adhere to them.