Riding a bicycle is an excellent form of recreation and a great way to get physically fit. This type of exercise fosters better coordination and focus, burns calories and builds new lean muscle. It’s important remember, however, that a bike is legally considered a vehicle. As such, there are a number of safety strategies that all riders should use when taking their bikes out on the road. Following are five tips that every rider should know.
1. Always Give Your Bike A Pre-Ride Inspection
Before jumping on your bike, make sure that it’s 100 percent road-ready. Check the brakes and tires and make sure that your bike is properly adjusted to your height. This is especially important to do if you share your bike with others and if you regularly ride along busy roads. A quick inspection will allow you to catch minor problems that might otherwise leave you stranded.
2. Never Ride Against the Flow of Traffic
Bike riders are always advised to ride with the flow of traffic, rather than against it. In fact, in many states, this is the law. Pedestrians and other motorists are not expecting to encounter bicycles that are moving in the opposite direction and thus, they may not be able to take important, evasive actions when they need to.
3. Use Hand Signals to Let Other Motorists Know Which Way You’re Going
Using hand signals when riding your bike on city streets is more than just a matter of self-protection. It’s also legally required. Hand signals tell pedestrians and other motorists where you’re going. This allows them to plan their own stops and turns accordingly. Also, be sure to check out the road rules for your area before using hand signals or attempting to operate your bike in any busy district. For instance, you can learn more about safely and legally riding your bike in a busy city like Las Vegas by visiting http://www.ladahlaw.com/faqs/how-to-stay-safe-while-cycling-vegas.
4. Wear Bright Or Light-Colored Clothing and Reflective Gear
Always dress to be seen when riding your bike. Make sure that your clothing doesn’t blend in with the surrounding terrain and that it’s suitably bright for remaining visible at twilight and during the nighttime hours. If you intend to bike home after work, equip your bike with reflective lights and don reflective gear. Simply making sure that other motorists can see you is the absolute best thing that you can do to protect yourself while riding.
5. Never Leave Home Without Your Helmet
Unlike passengers in car, bicyclists have little protection against impact should an accident ever occur. The one thing that these cyclists can do, however, is to minimize potential damages to their heads. Whether you ride on busy, city streets or only take your bike out on quiet, unpaved paths, you should always have your helmet on. Even the lowest priced bicycle helmet is required to meet the minimum standards for safety and thus, you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to get adequate protection.
Smart cyclists do all that they can to prevent accidents by following the rules of the road. All bike riders should treat and operate their bicycles much like they would any other vehicle. Thus, if you aren’t currently aware of the rules of the road for your state, city or county, take a look at the local driver’s handbook and brush up on bike laws before hitting the city streets.