Bicycles are great for many reasons. They are healthy because they involve exercise. They’re good for the environment, and they reduce traffic congestion. They’re also cheap on gas, and they’re a lot cheaper than dropping $20 to $40K on a car or truck.
Even if you haven’t ridden a bicycle since the fifth grade, you know the basic safety tips: wear a helmet, obey the traffic laws, use a light at night, and wear reflective clothing when riding in the dark. While those are a great place to start, there’s a lot more to bicycle safety.
Safety Tips for Cyclists
Whether you’ve decided to ride a bicycle for fitness, to help the environment, to save money on gasoline, or because of a driver’s license suspension, or just to feel the wind in your hair, bicycles can be great for many reasons, but they’re still dangerous because they share the road with motorists. Follow these safety tips from this day forward:
- Your bicycle is like a car, it needs routine maintenance. Make sure the tires are inflated and that the brakes are working well. You can always take your bike to a local bicycle shop for a complete tune-up.
- Make sure you’ve adjusted your bike to fit your body. If the seat is too high or too low, it will reduce your steering and braking abilities.
- Make sure you have the right gear, including a helmet, a bell to notify pedestrians of your presence, reflectors, mirrors, headlights and taillights, which are required for night riding.
- Are you in shape? If not, don’t start out with long rides. Instead, start slow and buildup to longer rides with regular training.
- Stay hydrated. Be sure to bring water with you when you ride and if you sweat a lot, drink plenty of electrolytes to replace the minerals lost through sweating.
Safety Tips for Motorists
You may never ride a bicycle again, but chances are you will encounter bicycles while driving. Remember, bicycles, by law, have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. As a driver, you have to share the road with cyclists, so follow these tips:
- To protect bicyclists, be patient with them. If you see oncoming traffic or if you can’t see up ahead to safely pass, please don’t.
- When you approach a bicycle, slow down.
- Don’t honk at cyclists as this can startle the rider and cause them to get into an accident.
- If you see a child on a bicycle, be extra cautious because kids tend to be unpredictable and unaware of the traffic laws, and dangers on the road.
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