Deciding to ride your bike wherever you need to go instead of taking your car is always a great idea. Not only is this choice better for the environment, it’s also a great way to stay in shape. Unfortunately, deciding to hop on your bike rather than into your car is risky. In 2016 840 cyclists were killed and in 2015, insurance companies dealt with 467,000 bicycle related injuries.
The best way to don’t become one of these statistics is by making safety your number one priority.
Increase your Visibility
One of the reasons so many cyclists are struck by cars is because the cyclist is hard to see. Attaching a few more reflectors and some flashing lights to your bike dramatically increase the odds of you making it home safely after your ride. You should also wear bright clothing that has reflective strips woven into the material. The brighter you are, the easier it is for passing motorists to see you coming.
If you’re biking at night, stick to well-lit areas.
Chose a Safe Route
Before hopping on your bike, grab a map and really think about what the safest route is. Look for routes that allow you to ride on some of the great California bike pats that exist all over the state. Try to avoid any areas that are heavily trafficked. It’s smarter to take a route that adds extra time to your commute than to run the risk of a car/bicycle collision.
Use Hand Signals
Hand signals are as important to cyclists as blinkers are to drivers. They let everyone know what move you’re about to do, which allows everyone around you to drive defensively. Using the hand signals might seem strange for a few days, but it won’t be long before it becomes second nature.
Be Aware of You Surroundings
Don’t assume that drivers are going to look out for you. You need to be aware of where they are and how they’re driving. If one is getting to close or doesn’t appear to know that you’re on the bike, you need to take defensive measures. The sooner you act, the greater the odds are that you’ll make it home in one piece.
Wear a Helmet
Your helmet is a huge safety tool. Not only does it protect you from head injuries if you fall off your bike, but also softens blows from things like low hanging tree limbs. Having a helmet on if you’re in an accident decreases the odds of you losing conciseness and increases the odds of you being able to make decisions that help you get out of the way of falling debris, oncoming traffic, and other dangers after you’ve fallen from your bike.
Stay safe and happy cycling!