With the whole world going green and people becoming ever more aware of the importance of health and regular physical activity, cycling has been on the rise for a while now. Riding a bicycle is a fun and healthy way to commute to work as opposed to sitting on a subway or in a car.
Even with cycle tracks, many cities are not entirely adapted to cyclists. This results in them having to share the road with motor vehicles. This can, unfortunately, result in injuries and death.
To stay safe as a cyclist, keep in mind the following tips for cycling in the city.
Inspect Your Bicycle Regularly
Before getting onto the road or a track, make sure you check every part of your equipment.
Check if your tires are properly inflated. If not and you are not skilled at it or possess no proper equipment, stop by a bicycle shop. A professional can check your tires and inflate them properly.
Secondly, the seat should fit your height and be secured in place. Otherwise, you may experience discomfort including lower back aches and knee pain. You should feel like you are in a stable position and capable of easily controlling your bicycle when cycling without feeling any kind of strain. If you are not sure how to fit your seat properly, you can always consult a professional, especially if you plan to ride long distances.
Next, you need to ensure your bicycle has reflectors at the back and front, on the pedals, and spokes. This makes your bicycle visible to any driver at any time of the day and night.
Having a rearview mirror helps you be more aware of the traffic around you, especially when making turns. Although they are not required by law, rearview mirrors can help you avoid blind spots.
A bright headlight is a must. It helps you see other vehicles and the road in the dark. Just like drivers are required to have their lights on even during the day, make sure yours is on when it starts to get darker.
Many cyclists have a bell or a horn that lets them communicate clearly with the other participants in traffic, warning them or drawing attention to themselves if needed
All in all, all these parts should be secure and working properly for you to set off on your bicycle. On top of that, you should have a tune-up and a safety inspection annually.
Be Visible on the Road
Aside from the reflectors and the headlight, you may want to ensure you are visible enough in case the weather is dark or foggy (or both), or if something unexpected happens and you need to step off your bike while still on the road.
You can do this by wearing bright, fluorescent, or neon clothing. You can purchase a reflective bicycle vest or armbands that will help you be seen on the road. This is especially advisable at night.
However, if possible, avoid cycling when it’s dark outside.
Use a Helmet
Helmets are not just for children learning how to ride bicycles. They are for everyone and should be worn regardless of how long the ride is.
Not only do helmets keep your head safe, but they can reduce the head injuries received in an accident.
Despite this, many people refuse to wear helmets due to styling issues. However, there are so many fashionable helmet models today to choose from that there are no excuses for not wearing one.
Fitting a Helmet
For a helmet to effectively protect you in case of a fall or a crash it needs to fit properly. For you to know it’s fitted properly, it needs to feel snug. You can achieve this through the following steps:
- Adjust the sizing pads or fit ring.
- Position the helmet so that it covers your forehead without the helmet leaning towards the front or the back. Leave one or two finger widths between the helmet and your eyebrows.
- Make the side straps form a “V” shape under and slightly in front of your ears.
- Place the chin strap so that its buckle is right under your chin. Buckle and tighten it until you feel it’s snug. There should only be space for one or two fingers to be placed between the strap and your chin.
When fitted correctly, there should be no rocking to the helmet other than one inch side to side and front to back.
On the Road
Once you have checked your equipment and put on your helmet appropriately, it’s time to become familiar with traffic rules and regulations, and to have a contact of a Law SB bicycle accident New York lawyer in case of an accident.
As a cyclist, you are required to follow the same traffic laws as drivers. This means you should cycle single-file following the direction of traffic, and use hand signals to indicate you are turning while also looking left, right, left again, and over your shoulder. It’s critical to stay alert and watch for car doors opening.
Although it sounds fun, never hitch onto cars as it is forbidden and dangerous. Also, lose the headphones. You need to be completely present and aware of your surroundings in case you need to react quickly and avoid getting hurt or hurting someone else.
If possible, plan your route. There are numerous cycling apps and even a cycling Google Maps feature you can use.
Although a fun sport and an exciting physical activity that both people and our planet benefit from, cycling requires serious preparation and responsibility, especially if done in the city.
To avoid accidents and injuries, make sure your bicycle is inspected before riding it, your helmet is on, and the traffic laws are familiar to you.
By keeping yourself safe, you are taking care of everyone else participating in traffic as well.