There are many dangers involved in riding a bicycle in the city. From potholes to busy streets, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to prevent accidents. Here are eight tips to help you stay safe while riding in the city.
1. Be aware of your surroundings
This is the number one way to prevent accidents when riding a bicycle in the city. There are many dangers that can come from not paying attention to your surroundings. For example, you could ride down a busy street and get hit by a car. Or, you could ride into a pothole and fall off of your bike. Either way, it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times when you are riding a bicycle in the city.
2. Ride defensively
Riding defensively is taking your awareness of the road situation to another level. One important thing to keep in mind is you have to assume that drivers don’t see you, even if they’re looking right at you. Ride as if you are invisible and always be prepared to take evasive action. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve in and out of traffic. Be predictable and make it easy for drivers to know what you’re doing.
Also, riding defensively means looking out for potential hazards. You need to watch out for dangerous drivers when riding your bike on the road, whether the traffic is busy or not. Your next best course of action if you see a driver not noticing, intentionally ignoring you, or not yielding to your right of way is to avoid the vehicle.
3. Wear a helmet
One of the most important things you can do to prevent accidents when riding a bicycle is to wear a helmet. This is by far the most effective means of protection you can have to prevent or mitigate the effects of accidents when riding a bicycle in the city. A helmet will protect your head in the event of a fall or collision, and can literally save your life. Make sure that your helmet fits properly and is fastened securely before heading out on the road.
4. Be visible
Another key safety tip is to make sure that you are visible to other vehicles on the road. Wear bright colors during the day and reflective gear at night to keep you visible on the road. Use a headlight and taillight so that you can be seen at night or in low-light conditions. An additional safety measure is to install reflectors on your pedals. By being visible, you can make it easier for others to see you and avoid accidents.
Being visible on the read is important for bicycle riders because they are often barely noticed by drivers. Accidents often happen when bicycles are in the blind spots of vehicles and drivers notice them too late. Intersections are also dangerous areas for bicycles to be in, so take extra care in traversing these areas.
5. Make sure your bike is in good condition
It is important to make sure that your bike is in good condition before riding it in the city. Before heading out on a ride, give your bike a quick once-over to make sure everything is in working order. Check the tires, brakes, chain, and lights to ensure that everything is in good condition. This means you should check your bike to make sure that the brakes are working properly and that the tires are properly inflated. You should also check to see if the chain is lubricated. Examine the brake pads if they are functional and responsive. This will help you avoid mechanical problems while out on the road. If you ride your bike often, you should also get it tuned up at least once a year.
6. Ride in the same direction as the traffic
This is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Riding in the same direction as the traffic is the best way to prevent accidents when riding a bicycle in the city. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s the law: In most states, it is actually against the law to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk. Not only is this a safety hazard for you and those around you, but you could also be fined or even arrested if caught doing so.
- You’re more visible: Riding in the same direction as traffic makes you much more visible to drivers, who are less likely to hit you if they see you coming.
- You can signal your intentions: When riding in the same direction as traffic, you can signal your turns just like motorists, making it easier for everyone to know what you’re doing and where you’re going.
- You can react to hazards: If you’re riding in the wrong direction, it can be hard to see and react to hazards on the road. This could lead to you being hit by a car or running into something yourself.
- You’re less likely to startle pedestrians: Startling pedestrians is not only rude, but it can also be dangerous. If they jump out of the way unexpectedly, they could fall and get hurt.
- You can use the whole lane: When riding in the same direction as traffic, you can use the full width of the lane instead of riding close to the edge where you’re more likely to get hit by a passing car.
- You’re less likely to get doored: Getting “doored” is when a driver opens their door into your path, causing you to crash. This is more likely to happen if you’re riding on the wrong side of the road.
- You can make eye contact with drivers: Making eye contact with drivers is a good way to let them know you’re there and to make sure they see you. When you’re riding in the wrong direction, it can be hard for drivers to spot you.
7. Avoid riding on the sidewalk
Riding on the sidewalk may seem like a good way to stay safe, but it can actually be more dangerous than riding on the road. Sidewalks are often crowded with pedestrians, and it can be difficult to navigate around them safely. If you must ride on the sidewalk, be sure to go slowly and yield to pedestrians.
8. Don’t ride under the influence
Just as you shouldn’t drive a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you shouldn’t ride a bicycle while impaired. Riding drunk or high increases your risk of being involved in an accident, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. If you have been drinking, call a cab or take public transit instead.
By following these safety tips, you can help prevent accidents and stay safe while riding your bicycle in the city.