Guide: Are you or your kids taking your bike for a spin more often? Here are 5 safety tips for bicyclists.
Bicycling is one of the best ways to get exercise, see the sights, reduce your carbon footprint, and save on gas!
But because you and your family are often sharing the road with vehicles, it can be dangerous.
According to the National Safety Council, the number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents increased 16% in 2020 and have increased 44% in the last 10 years.
Here are some precautions you and your family can take to stay safe on the road and trails:
1. CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT
Always inspect your bike prior to riding. The seat should be adjusted to the proper height and locked in place. Make sure all parts are secure and working. Check that the tires are inflated properly. Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors. A horn or bell, a rearview mirror and a bright headlight are also recommended.
2. WEAR REFLECTIVE MATERIAL
Make sure drivers can see you. Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright clothing. Whenever possible, ride during the day. If you must ride at night, wear reflective clothing and use flashing lights.
3. WEAR A HELMET
Helmets appropriate for bicycling should be worn by everyone – adults and children – on every bike ride regardless of length of the ride. Check that the helmet is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
FOLLOW THESE guidelines from NHTSA to properly fit a helmet.
4. FOLLOW THESE RULES ON THE ROAD
Get acquainted with traffic laws; bicyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
Ride single-file in the direction of traffic. Remain alert, keep your head up and look around. Watch for opening car doors and other hazards. Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections. Never hitch onto cars. Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder.
Want to know how bikeable your community is? NHTSA has a checklist HERE.
5. STAY OFF SIDEWALKS
Sidewalk biking can be dangerous due to pedestrians and uneven pavement, according to People Powered Movement. Instead, opt to ride on dedicated bike lanes if available in your community.