Staying safe on the road as a cyclist comes down to following some basic rules. It’s easy enough to do, but understanding their importance is key to ensuring that you implement them when you are on the road.
- Do what is expected of you – The best way to ensure safety as a cyclist is to make sure that motorists can see you. When you disobey basic traffic laws, you may approach drivers from directions that they are not expecting. For example, riding so that you are facing the traffic may feel safer, but it can render you virtually invisible to both oncoming traffic and to motorists at intersections.
- Maintain awareness of your surroundings – You will see both motorists and pedestrians before they see you. Your sight and hearing are better than cars, and pedestrians will tend to walk in front of you without warning. Always be vigilant. The best way to ensure this is to avoid handicapping yourself. Don’t talk on the phone while riding. Don’t wear headphones. Do NOT text and ride.
- Be conspicuous – I mentioned the importance of being visible before, but this becomes especially important at night. Wear bright clothing, and use a front headlight along with a blinking rear light. This is even a good idea during the daytime.
- Do an “ABC Quick Check” before you ride – A is for air pressure in your tires. B is for brakes. C is for cranks and chain. Enough said.
- Wear safety gear – Everyone, not just those under 18, should wear helmets when riding, as it greatly reduces the risks of head/brain injury. Other safety gear, such as reflective clothing, can also help prevent an accident.
Frederick M. Dudek is a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer and cycling enthusiast with a passion for promoting bicycle safety and defending his fellow riders.