Bicycle Safety – How to Ride Responsibly

johnston riNot everyone relies on a car to get from Point A to Point B. Popular alternatives to the automobile include public transportation, walking and bicycles. Any of the aforementioned options can help one avoid rush-hour traffic, reduce their insurance costs, and save on gas and repair expenses. Riding a bicycle to work or other destinations is also a popular choice for those who also want to reduce their environmental impact while also getting some decent exercise. However, like operating a motor vehicle, those who choose the bicycle as their primary method of getting around should take a number important precautions. Safe riding is all about being alert, proactive and obeying the rules of the road.
Always Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet while riding your bicycle is something that almost everyone knows they should do, but occasionally will ignore. Wearing a helmet reduces the chances of suffering a head or brain injury in the event of an accident. When choosing a helmet, be sure to select a model that is not only protective but comfortable, especially if you will be wearing it on a daily basis. Elbow and knee pads can also be utilized for additional protection.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Make sure to wear comfortable footwear and clothing any time you are riding. If you are heading to work, bring a change of clothes in a backpack or leave them at your destination. If you’ll be riding at night, make sure to wear bright, reflective clothing and avoid anything dark or hard to see.
Use Hand Signals
Drivers have the luxury of blinkers to signal when they will be making a turn. On a bicycle, however, riders need to use hand signals to communicate. Any rider should be familiar with common signals used to tell drivers and other riders their intended direction.
Avoid Peak Times
While many cities have added bike lanes to their roadways, riders are still at an increased risk during busier times of the day. An increased number of cars and other bicycles on the road means more people to pay attention to. Unfortunately, New England drivers don’t always have the utmost respect for riders, which is reflected in their disregard for rider safety. Riders should keep their head up and on the road at all times, but also make sure that they are not riding erratically or navigating outside of the bike lanes.
Look Out for Hazards
Potholes and defects in the road pose a risk to anyone on the road, but especially bicycle riders. Riders should always look out for hazards that may cause them danger. When encountering a pothole, speed bump or grooved payment, riders should slow down and always look for other drivers before navigating around the hazard.
If riding in a group, make sure to form a single-file line and communicate with other riders. Groups of riders should avoid riding outside of the designated bike lanes and always be aware of their formation.
Normal Rules Apply
Some riders make the mistake of thinking that normal traffic rules and regulations do not apply to them. Riders should be sure to stop at all stop signs, yield when prompted and avoid going the wrong way during a one-way street. Lastly, although it is somewhat common sense, riders should be sure to always go with the traffic and never against the traffic.

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