Practice Safe Riding during Bike Safety Month
For many, rising temperatures bring a desire to hit the open road on two wheels. Biking is an excellent way to get out and enjoy some fresh air during the warm months but doing so safely ensures a more enjoyable experience for you and others on the road.
Following just a few precautions can drastically increase your chances of staying safe this season. This Bike Safety Month, be mindful of these tips that can help save your life — and others’.
Know the rules of the road.
Make sure you know and understand the local laws before heading out. This includes obeying all signs and traffic signals, and lane markings, including stop signs and stoplights. Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it, and keep as far to the right side of their lane as possible.
Familiarize yourself with hand signals to let automobiles know when you’re about to turn — do not make a turn without signaling to traffic behind you first. For more information on hand signals, check out this guide from the NHTSA.
Use safety equipment.
We can’t speak enough about the importance of wearing a properly fitted helmet while riding a bike. Make sure your it sits level on your head without rocking or tilting forward, backward, or to the side. Ensure the rim is visible to the person wearing it and sits about two finger widths above the eyebrows. The straps should form a V under the ears when buckled and should be snug yet comfortable. Finally, open your mouth as wide as possible; if the helmet doesn’t hug your head, tighten the straps.
You should also be sure to wear bright-colored clothing, especially in lowlight conditions such as early morning or dusk. At night, riders should always wear reflective clothing or tape.
Finally, make sure the bike itself is fitted with the proper safety equipment. All bicycles should have a red light on the back and a white light on the front. Never ride at night without proper lights on your bike; most bicyclist deaths occur between 6-9 p.m. You should also double-check to ensure your bike is in good shape for a ride. Air up your tires before heading out and make sure your brakes are functioning properly.
Drivers: Pay attention.
Although bicyclists should ensure they’re safe in all aspects of their ride, ultimately their safety is partly dependent on how safe drivers perform around them. Drivers should always pay attention when they’re on the road — never drive distracted — and be aware of bicyclists around them. Be sure to give bicyclists plenty of room when passing them, and always check your blind spots before turning or merging.
Bicycling is an excellent way to stay in shape during the summer months — follow these safety tips and ensure an even more enjoyable experience for you and your family.