On a bright sunny day, there’s nothing better than going for a bike ride. Not only is it a great way to spend time and see what’s going on around your town or neighborhood, but there are also plenty of health benefits:
- Biking regularly can build up and strengthen your leg muscles.
- Riding a bike is something that anyone of any age can do.
- Biking is a great way to strengthen your core.
- Biking can be great for your mental health, helping to ease feelings of anxiety and stress.
- Going for a bike ride can be a great way to start your morning. After all, it’s recommended that folks get 30-60 minutes of exercise at least five times a week.
- Biking can help prevent medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
- Riding a bike is a very eco-friendly activity.
There’s no doubt that riding a bike is great for your physical and mental health. But if you’re going to go for a ride, there are lots of biking safety tips you need to be aware of. As fun as biking can be, things can quickly go south if you’re not paying attention.
With that in mind, here are some important biking safety tips that you need to know:
Wear a Helmet
In terms of staying safe on a bike, this is Biking 101. If you’re going to ride safely you absolutely need to wear a helmet. Studies have repeatedly shown that a large percentage of folks who die on a bike often do so because they’re not wearing a helmet.
While it is true that helmets don’t protect a rider’s entire head, wearing one is always No. 1 on a list of important biking safety tips. Why wouldn’t you want to wear a helmet to protect your head? If you fall, you’ve got an important covering to protect your brain.
If you’re looking for a helmet, head to your local bike shop and get one that fits correctly on your head. When you ride, you’re going to want to make sure you’re protected with a helmet that fits your head.
Use Hand Signals
It’s not always easy to make yourself heard when you’re riding a bike, especially if you’re riding on a busy street with lots of traffic. That’s why it’s important to use signs to stay on track of where you’re going on the road and then use hand signals to indicate your intentions on your ride.
- Stick your left hand out, parallel to the ground to signal a left turn.
- Put your left arm up at a 90-degree angle to signal a right turn.
- Put your left arm down at a 90-degree angle to indicate you’re slowing down.
Make Yourself Seen
Another important item on a list of biking safety tips is to make yourself visible when you’re riding. What does that mean? It means wearing reflective, bright clothing that everyone can see. If you happen to be riding at night it also means putting front and back lights on your bike so that people can see you coming.
You can also do yourself a favor by not weaving in and out of lanes or riding directly behind trucks or cars. You absolutely don’t want to ride in a driver’s blind spot. To take things a step further, put a bell on your bike to let motorists know when you’re approaching.
As a rider, one of the most important biking safety tips you can use is to always be alert. Riding a bike can be an enjoyable activity, but you can’t let your guard down. Failure to pay attention may lead you to, for example, drive on uneven asphalt paving, and incur an injury because you were distracted.
Remember to always pay attention to what’s ahead of you and always keep an eye out for obstacles, especially if you’re riding in a busy area or past road construction. In cars and trucks, you’re always told to look 5-10 seconds down the road and anticipate what might come next. That doesn’t change at all if you’re on a bike. You need to be just as observant and pay extra attention. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did.
Keep Your Distractions Minimized
This is related to the previous tip, but part of being on the alert is minimizing your distractions. If you’re riding a bike, you can minimize your distractions by not wearing headphones and not texting or talking on the phone. Think about it this way: you normally wouldn’t (or probably shouldn’t) listen to music or text or talk on the phone while you’re driving in a car, so why would you do all that on a bike?
Control Your Speed
There are many important biking safety tips you need to heed, but one of the most important is controlling your speed when you’re riding a bike. Again, much like when you’re driving in a car you have to go the speed limit, and the same thing applies on a bike.
It’s true the speed limit on a bike is different than the speed limit on a car, but you still need to go the right speed. Going too slow on a bike can make you a hazard on the road, especially if motorists are trying to get around you. Going too fast can be dangerous too. If a car suddenly turns or a pedestrian comes out of nowhere, you may not have time to slow down. The best thing you can do is to find a happy medium and maintain that speed.
Follow the Law
On a list of biking safety tips, following the law seems like a no-brainer. But if everyone followed the law at all times, then authorities wouldn’t have to remind everyone, bike riders included, to follow it.
So what do you need to do to follow the law on a bike? While laws are different in different states and different cities, you can follow the law by wearing a helmet. You can also help yourself by registering your bike, though it’s not required by every city. You can also follow the law and stay safe by riding on designated bike paths. Many cities have them specifically so that riders have their own space on the road. This doesn’t mean you still don’t have to watch for cars on the road, but this is a bike-only lane that helps reduce the risk of accidents.
Know What to Do If an Accident Occurs
Even if you follow biking safety tips down to the letter, biking accidents can happen, and sometimes without warning.
When a bicycle accident happens, it can be difficult for a victim to know what to do during their recovery. Accidents can be scary, even life-changing, and a victim may have no idea what’s coming next. Thankfully, an experienced bicycle accident attorney has experience and can help cyclists as you recover, should you find yourself the victim of an accident.
One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to seek medical attention. Getting the treatment you need throughout the process is essential, especially if your injuries are severe. Medical professionals have experience too and can help you tremendously. They know how to treat a sprain, but they can also help you with more severe injuries too.
After you’ve sought medical treatment, reported your crash to the authorities, and documented what happened with your accident. You need to contact an attorney. If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know that an experienced auto collision lawyer can help victims of car accidents.
Bike accident attorneys can do the same thing for motorists. An experienced attorney can go to bat for you and help you get the compensation you’re entitled to after an accident, especially if you’ve been left with a permanent disability that’s going to change your life forever.
The aftermath of an accident, especially a bike-bike accident, a car-bike accident, or a truck-bike accident can be confusing, scary, and downright uncomfortable for all parties involved. But there’s plenty of legal help available to help, whether you need the aid of a bail bond company or experienced attorneys to look over the particulars of your accident and help you move ahead with a lawsuit.
Focus On Recovery
Even the most experienced bike riders have accidents sometimes, even if they follow all the right biking safety tips. If you’ve fallen off your bike and scraped yourself up, it’s important that you take some time to focus on recovery.
The first thing you should probably do is seek medical treatment. Even if you’ve got a few minor scrapes, take advantage of the health plan you’ve got through your health insurance and get checked out. The last thing you want is to get an infection or worse from a seemingly minor injury.
Part of your recovery should also include sleep. Regardless of how minor or severe your crash may be, your body needs a chance to rest. You need to build your strength back up and find ways to get comfortable so that your body can recover.
You also need to make sure what you eat helps you in your recovery. In the aftermath of a crash, your body is likely going to need extra nutrition, so add some extra protein to your meals to help build up your muscle and help your body on its path to recovery.
It can be a little difficult in the aftermath of a crash, but you also need to find some time to relax. There’s nothing like some good old self-care if you’re recovering from a crash. Take it easy by watching movies or reading books and try not to move too fast or too much. Your body will recover, but it’s going to take time.
Store Your Bike
When you think of biking safety tips, storing a bike may not be at the top of list, but it’s nonetheless important.
You’ve got several options for storing your bike and ultimately you want to make sure your bike is safe and out of harm’s way. You can use your garage to store your bike or your family’s bikes if you have the space. This is a great way to keep everyone’s bike out the way and out of the path of your garage door. Many local door companies provide great garage door service, but you want to make sure your bike doesn’t wind up smashed under your garage door because you’ve been careless.
If you don’t have the garage space, you can always put your bike in a small shed if you’ve got one of those. This, much like your garage, will help protect your bike from harsh weather and will also protect it from anyone looking to steal it. If you can, make sure the shed is in a well-lit area that’s easily visible from your home.
If you don’t have a shed or the garage space, you can always set up a bike tent outside. You can easily buy a lightweight tent, set it up, and put your bike underneath it. Depending on how big the tent is, you might be able to store one or two bikes. While it is true that such a tent will protect your bikes from the wind, it’s not necessarily the best long-term option.
If you’re looking for still another bike storage option, put your bike indoors, as in inside your house. If you’ve got some space in a laundry room, put your bike in there. This will ensure it stays out of the rain, wind, and snow and doesn’t leave your sight.
Be Safe and Have Fun
No matter how young or how old you are, riding a bike is a skill that can bring you joy for many years. By following the biking safety tips described above, you can keep yourself safe and focus more on enjoying your time on the seat of your bike, and your ride around town.
Just as anyone of any age can ride a bike, anyone of any age can follow the rules. So take time to strap on your helmet, use hand signals when riding, stay alert, avoid distractions, and be safe on the road.