July 19, 2016
10 Smart Rules to Bike Safety
In the last Healthy You column, the health benefits of bicycling were touted. All those benefits can be quickly negated however, by a bicycle accident that could injure or even result in the death of the rider. The following tips are from the city of Madison, Wisconsin’s bikeMadison website with some embellishment.
- Protect Your Head. Wear a good fitting helmet at all times.
- Stay Visible. If drivers can see you, they are less likely to hit you. Use both head and tail lights when biking at night or in low-light conditions. Bright colored or reflective clothing can make you more visible as well.
- Look, Signal & Look Again. Use hand signals to let drivers and other bicyclists know where you’re going. Always make eye contact with a vehicle’s driver. Never assume drivers will stop.
- Stay Alert. Keep a lookout for obstacles in your path. Loose sand, gravel, mud, potholes, and large cracks in the concrete roads can all be serious hazards. Always cross railroad tracks at a 90-degree angle.
- Go with the Flow. Bike in the direction of traffic. While pedestrians are encouraged to walk against traffic, the same is not true for bicyclists.
- Act like a Car. Don’t weave in and out of traffic. The more predictably you ride, the safer you are. Check for traffic and be aware of traffic around you. A mirror on your bike is always a good idea. When cars ahead of you are stopped for a light, don’t pass them on the right.
- Don’t Get Distracted. Don’t listen to music or talk on the phone while riding. It is important to be able to hear cars approaching from behind you.
- Obey all Traffic Laws & Lights. Bicyclists can be ticketed for running stops signs, failing to yield and making illegal turns the same as a car driver can.
- Assure Bicycle Readiness. Is your bicycle the right size for you and is it properly adjusted?
- Do a Quick Bicycle Test. Check your brakes and your wheels. Make sure that “quick release” wheels are properly secured. Are your tires at the proper pressure?