Cycling trips, whether for short or long distances, can certainly be fun, providing sufficient exercise and offering us a chance to explore nature and get some fresh air. Unfortunately though, accidents can occur on any trip, whether due to traffic, negligence, or uninformed riders or drivers. Since bicycle accidents are increasingly common around the world, here are some important tips to help you stay safe on your next trip.
Inspect Your Bike
Before going on any journey, make sure you check your bike for any malfunctions. An important factor to keep in mind if you have yet to purchase your own bike is the bike’s size; make sure it is the right size for your height as this will offer you much more stability than you would expect. Then, before any trip, check the brakes to ensure they’re working properly. Spinning the wheels with your hand and then pressing the brake is a great way to test them out. Make sure you test both the front and back wheels before riding. You should also check for any (almost) flat wheels of course and give them an extra pump if needed.
Make Sure Headlights Are Working
Once the brakes and wheels are in order, you should then make sure that the headlights are functional as well. Lights are a necessity especially on long cycling trips off the main road. If you notice faulty lighting, make sure to fix these issues before taking any trip. In some countries, such as the Netherlands, you can get a ticket for riding a bike at night with your headlights turned off. A strong source of light will keep you safe before anyone else; car drivers usually do not notice bikers at night if they don’t have proper headlights installed.
Wear Appropriate Safety Gear
You must always wear your helmet no matter how short or long your cycling trip is. But there are also other safety gears you should have in mind when you’re getting ready for a ride. For long trips, gloves, mouth guards, special body armor and glasses are among the few necessities. You should also make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes and clothing when riding. Make sure to check the weather before leaving your home; unexpected rain or some extra wind can turn your entire trip around if you don’t expect it.
Obey Traffic Laws
When cycling on the road, you must obey the traffic laws put in place. Follow the required speed limit, stop when instigated, and stay on the bike lane if there is one. Do not believe you are exempt from these laws because of the machinery you are using. Failing to follow state laws could put yourself and others in harm’s way.
It won’t come as a shock to you to know that your safety is at risk when riding amongst cars on the road. Because of this, you need to think twice when driving in the midst of traffic. As the Bakersfield bicycle accident attorneys from Pocrass & De Los Reyes suggest, it is possible to suffer an injury even while following the rules. This is because negligent drivers are plentiful and can put vulnerable bike riders in harm’s way. If you have incurred injuries on the road, make sure to seek medical attention and consult a lawyer immediately. Try to get the driver’s information if you can.
Be Mindful of Speed
Many people get injured on cycling trips; they dismiss speed limits off-road because there is little to no traffic. This is extremely dangerous. You should always ride at a speed you can control, even if your fellow riders encourage otherwise. Always remember that it’s much harder to break while speeding.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
Stay alert when cycling and watch neighboring vehicles for any sudden changes. Anything can change within a moment; make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings. That entails always checking before making a turn and avoiding riding mindlessly. Always keep your hands on your handlebars to avoid getting disoriented by any unexpected events; playing daredevil can get you into much more trouble than you’d think. Also, wearing headphones or reaching for anything while biking can hinder your senses, especially when surrounded by ongoing traffic. Plan short breaks on your cycling trip to check your route or grab something to eat or drink.
As logic dictates, if these safety measures aren’t properly followed, you have a higher risk of injury on a cycling trip. Faulty brakes and headlights can lead to a collision, distractions hinder your senses and ability to react quickly, and speeding can lead to you losing control of your bike. If you’re not wearing the appropriate safety gear, the injuries you incur can be very severe. Always make sure you ride safely and responsibly.