You may never forget how to ride a bike, but remembering traffic rules as you hit the road may be trickier – especially if you aren’t a regular cyclist. Bicycling can offer something for many different fitness levels or needs, and it can be a great family activity. It’s friendly to the environment and even better for your body (of course, ask your physician if you have any health concerns). When you’re ready to put the pedals in motion, keep these safety tips in mind!
- Know your hand signals – Often times, cyclists share the road with other drivers. Help the motor-vehicles stay aware of your route by utilizing proper hand signals to indicate turns. When approaching a right-hand turn, be sure to change lanes before the intersection and look over your left shoulder before making any left-hand turns.
- Light incorporated – Riding at dusk or in the dark? Reflectors may not be enough to keep yourself visible on the road. Invest in lights on both the front and back of your bicycle.
- Dress for success – In addition to extra lighting, it’s helpful to wear bright or reflective clothing. Sometimes a bicycle can be hard to see, even with proper reflectors. Tie up any loose pants or shoe strings as well to ensure nothing gets tangled in the gears.
- Bring plenty of water – Many bikes have a place where you can secure a water bottle while riding. Be sure to stay hydrated and take opportunities for water breaks. Biking is great exercise, after all!
- Don’t forget your helmet – It’s more important than you think. A helmet can be the difference between a very serious or moderate injury in many cases.
Drivers should also be aware of bicyclists on the road, and should follow their own safety rules to ensure everyone is able to share the road worry-free:
- Keep your distance – Always allow plenty of room when passing a bike, staying aware of oncoming traffic from across the road. If there isn’t enough time to pass, follow at a safe distance until it is clear.
- Do not honk your horn – You may surprise the rider, which may cause them to fall or swerve, leading to an unwanted accident.
- Check behind you – When you are making a right turn, always look to see if there are any cyclists coming up behind you on the right side of the road.
- Look before opening doors – The last thing you want to do is knock someone over with a heavy door they didn’t see coming. Take a look around you before swiftly opening any car doors.
With practice and patience, the road can be a safe place for everyone. Enjoy the warmer weather and start your cycling! Be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.