Some riders have different perspectives on how to stay safe, but there are a few fundamental rules of bicycle safety that basically everyone agrees on. If you want to ride regularly you should absolutely follow these guidelines. They will hugely reduce your chances of getting in a serious bike accident.
The 7 Fundamental Rules of Bicycle Safety
- Your mom was right about helmets: Sorry, but your mother was right when she told you to wear your helmet. There is no better way to protect yourself on a ride. Never leave the helmet at home. The risk of head injury is too high.
- Follow the laws: It’s common in the cycling community to complain about cars who don’t follow the rules of the road. It’d be a little hypocritical if we didn’t do the same thing. Also, these laws are designed to keep you safe. Follow them. They are there for a reason.
- Act like a car: Cyclists are classified as vehicles, not pedestrians. This means following many of the same rules that cars do, such as taking a lane, signaling major turns, and stopping at stop signs. There are a few common-sense exceptions that some cyclists disagree on, but overall you want to behavior like a motor cycle, not a pedestrian.
- Pay attention: Focus on the road at all times. Avoid distractions such as headphones or conversations with other riders. One moment of distraction can cause an accident.
- Check your gear: Do a quick gear check before every ride to make sure that your bike is safe, your helmet is securely fastened, and everything is good to go.
- Cars need to see you: Cars can’t drive safely if they can’t see you. If you are riding at night, get a light and consider wearing reflective clothing.
- Bike with traffic: Never bike in the opposite direction of traffic. Remember, you’re acting like a car. It’s against the law, and it hugely increases the chances of a crash.
These are just the basics of bicycle safety, but if you make a habit of following these rules you will be well on your way. After all, nothing is more important than the fundamentals.
Frederick M. Dudek is a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer and cycling enthusiast with a passion for promoting bicycle safety and fighting on behalf of his fellow riders.