Biking is always fulfilling and fun for people of any age, whether you’re out for a leisurely ride with friends and family, commuting to work, or exercising.
While biking is a relatively simple activity, there are a number of protocols that should be followed in terms of bike safety.
We created a simple list of the most important bike safety essentials for when you're out on the road, with some added commentary on kids bike safety as well.
These common sense tips will ensure that your bike ride is as safe as possible, every time you put the tires to the pavement.
The number one thing you need for your ride is a helmet -- no exceptions. Accidents can happen anywhere, it doesn’t really matter if you’re down the street from your house, or out on a remote highway putting some extra miles in. Accidents aren’t always your fault either.
No matter what, make sure you have a snug, secure helmet that is comfortable and in good condition.
Visibility is crucial when biking, regardless of what time of day it is.
Bright clothing makes you more noticeable to motorists, and also fellow cyclists and any pedestrians that may be out. Always aim to wear colors that draw more attention to your presence.
Tire malfunctions are one of the biggest causes of wrecks for bikes. Before you leave for your ride, check your tires to make sure there aren’t any sharp objects embedded in the tires, and also check for any tires that may have lost air since you last rode. They may turn into a bigger leak once you get on the road.
Stopping power is crucial for bike safety. If your brakes are having issues, you may find yourself in some big trouble later on. Perform a quick check of your brake levers, and also the calipers and pads. It only takes a few seconds to make sure everything is functioning properly.
Now that you are on the bike and enjoying the road, paths, or sidewalks, follow these tips to provide a safe biking experience each time.
For whatever reason, there are still some that inexplicably suggest that riders go against traffic. This is completely wrong. Cyclists are subject to normal traffic protocols, which means riding with the traffic flow in a normal manner, not against it.
Bike riders are not exempt from the standard rules that apply to motorists.
Even if you’re not one of those cyclists that is able to ride with traffic and occupy your own lane as a car would, you are still expected to follow all the basic traffic laws.
This includes stopping at stop signs and stop lights, and observing right-of-way etiquette.
Just because you are on a bike doesn’t mean you get to blow past a stop sign, or run a red light when the coast is clear.
Staying within traffic laws protects both you and other motorists.
When biking, it’s always common to encounter other cyclists on the road, as well as pedestrians who are walking, running, and jogging. People are always moving along at different speeds, and you will likely be passing people fairly often.
Even if you are moving slowly when approaching others from behind, you should always give them a quick heads up when you are nearing them, and about to pass. This is as easy as calling out “on your left” or “coming up on your right” when navigating around someone. This can help avoid collisions.
That parked car you are coming up on may seem harmless enough, but the truth is that you ever know if someone is about to swing their door open on either side to get out. Watch your speed around parked cars, as someone could open the door at any moment, or even begin driving.
In addition to slowing down, it’s best to keep four or five feet of distance between yourself and the car as well.
Even the smoothest roads can have some treacherous hazards that could appear at any moment, when you least expect it. Always be on alert in all directions, and especially ahead of you.
Potholes, divots, bumps, broken glass, and debris can all threaten to not just bust your tire, but send you flying over the handlebars. Never get too comfortable, especially at high speeds.
Children on bikes require an extra measure of safety and awareness when they are out for a bike ride. As a general rule, we encourage that kids under the age of 10 always ride with an adult, or a responsible older family member or friend who can keep an eye on them.
Kids should be encouraged to ride mainly where there are sidewalks and/or bike paths, as this keeps them away from motorists. It’s also best to instill in children that they remain as close to the curb as they can when riding in the neighborhood, and to never zig and zag around in the street.
If you are accompanying kids on a bike ride, always make sure they remain in front of you, and within the reach of your voice, so you can watch where they are going, and alert them to any hazards to avoid.
Pretty simple, right? Bike safety isn’t complicated, it just requires that you use common sense and good judgement, regardless of where you are and what your speed is.
By following these bike safety essentials, you can always look forward to your next ride with the full confidence of knowing that you are taking all of the most vital steps to avoiding accidents and collisions.
Do you have any suggestions of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
This post was last updated on June 5th, 2018 at 01:52 pm
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.
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