It can be pretty exciting hopping on your bicycle and pedaling away to work. After all, you are saving a good amount of money on fuel and other car wear and tear costs. You are also proud of yourself because you know you are doing Mother Nature a good turn – no emissions! However, all is not glamour because cycling when you are not duly prepared is akin to courting danger. Your safety is very important.
Having a comfortable 3-speed commuter bike alone can make your journey enjoyable and safe. You can go for a 7-speed road bike as well. Here are some other safety tips for your first bicycle commute:
1. Wear your helmet
The same way that the first thing you do when you get in your car is buckling up, wear your safety helmet before hopping onto your bike. In many places, it is a traffic offense to ride a bicycle without a helmet. However, apart from fearing to break the law, your helmet will protect your head and brain in case of a fall. While you might be a good rider and road user, the problem is that an accident can be caused by other road users. When you know you are well geared up, you can ride more confidently. You also let other road users know that your personal safety is very important to you.
2. Wear gloves
Many people forget to wear their riding gloves. If you are riding a short distance to work or to school, gloves might not be all that important. However, if you are riding far, just wear gloves so that even when you sweat, your hands will not slip on the handlebars. This gives you a good grip on the bike. Besides, gloves can also help protect your hands from the shock when you ride on a rough patch of the road.
3. Keep your eyes peeled and be aware of the surroundings
This is one of the basic rules of driving a car. It also applies to ride a bicycle. You need to be aware of what is happening ahead of you, as far as your eyes can see. If you live in a well-populated neighborhood, you need to watch out for your safety as well as that of other people.
When you are passing areas with stationary vehicles, be extra aware of them because doors can open suddenly and knock you down badly. Try to guess what people might do, before they do it. If someone is standing near the road, you have to be keen as they could jump onto the road with little or no warning. Always know what you would do should something happen. Know that pedestrians will fear vehicles because they are bigger, and not pay a lot of mind to bicycles. (See also: Examining the Most Notable Benefits of Bicycling)
4. Respect other road users
If you respect other road users, they will respect you too. There are many ways that you can show respect for other road users. One of them is to desist from weaving in and out lanes, in between vehicles. This indicates carelessness. Stick to the bicycle lane. Desist from holding onto other vehicles at a traffic stop unless it is necessary. Be extra cautious at a pedestrian crossing. Do not cut in front of pedestrians. Stop and wait, just as the motorists are doing.
5. Learn some hand signals for cyclists and use them
You ought to know a few ways in which to communicate your intentions to other road users. You can get hand signals for cycling on NHTSA resources. Once you have studied the hand signals, you can start using them. However, even though they are easy to interpret, do not assume that other road users know them. Be extra careful always when riding.
6. Make your bike and yourself visible on the road
There are important things that a bicycle must never miss. A commuter bicycle should have a headlight, a taillight and the rider should always wear a High-Visibility item on his back, especially when cycling in low light conditions. You can also add little reflective stickers on the frame, handlebars and other parts so that they can reflect light at night and alert motorists of your presence. (See also: 7 Health Benefits of Mountain Biking)
About The Author:
Tajirul Haque is a professional content writer with many years of experience in writing health and fitness, home renovation, healthy living, and other related topics. He loves to write about different ways we can live a healthy and happy life.