Commuting to work by bike is one of the most responsible things you can do to lower your carbon footprint. The downside is that you are likely to be riding in traffic on your way to work which poses some safety problems.
Staying safe while trying to get to work is going to be an ongoing effort so you’ll need to make some good habits to follow. Unfortunately, with more bikes on the road, there have been more accidents involving cyclists and many of them are fatal.
Injuries can be catastrophic so you’ll need a good personal injury lawyer like Lamber Goodnow to represent you if you do fall victim to an accident.
To keep yourself from becoming one of those statistics, then read on for some tips on how to avoid an accident on your bike.
1. Use your safety gear
There is no excuse for not wearing a helmet. If you do get into an accident it could very well save your life. Recovering from injuries after a bike accident is one thing, but when it is a brain injury you are likely dealing with lifelong issues.
Make sure it is sturdy and fits you well. I always recommend a helmet that covers more than your typical racing helmet since many of you are not in a race but simply commuting.
Aerodynamics doesn’t matter so wear an actual helmet.
You should also have plenty of lights and reflectors so drivers can see you easily. Plus have a loud horn and not just a bicycle bell so people actually can be alerted that you are there.
A bell can’t be heard in a car with the windows down but a horn can be.
Having mirrors is also a good idea so you know when there is a car behind you and you can see how they are driving.
2. Follow the road rules
Staying safe means that you can’t be blasting through red lights and riding the wrong way down a one-way street. If you do these things then you’re the cause of the accident and not the driver.
You have to think like you’re driving a car, except without all the protection. That means following the same rules as if you are behind the wheel.
Make sure that you stop at all stop signs and red lights. Look before you enter the intersection to make sure that there isn’t anybody running the red light. You may have the right of way, but it won’t matter if you don’t check and get hit.
|Read also: 8 Safety Tips for Road Bikers|
3. Be defensive
Always be looking for ways to avoid an accident. Like the previously mentioned looking before entering an intersection. Likewise, try to stay out of a driver’s blind spot. Either speed up or slow down if you notice that they won’t see you if they decide to turn.
Put down the phone when riding for obvious reasons. And avoid using headphones to listen to music. You should be aware of your surroundings.
Try to make eye contact with drivers as you pass them or approach an intersection. That way they are aware of you and will watch out when they turn.
4. Know your state’s laws
Though you are expected to ride your bike as if you are driving a car and follow the same rules of the road, there is some leeway depending on the state.
For instance, in California, it is permitted for cyclists to ride up the middle between cars in two lanes of traffic. This way you don’t have to sit in a line of traffic if you need to turn left.
In some other states, this is illegal.
Jumping the line, or being allowed to turn right or go straight at a red light when the light is about to change is permitted in some states. This may not seem logical at the outset, but since many bicycle accidents happen when a car is turning right and doesn’t see the cyclist, it can prevent a number of these accidents.
5. Maintain your bike
If you are riding in heavy traffic and suddenly your bike chain pops off, you can find yourself in a tricky situation.
Make sure that your bike is always maintained and that you are aware of any potential problems before they happen.
Check tire pressure and look for any signs of wear on the treads. You may find it thin in some areas where the inner tube could pop through.
Keep your chain lubricated, the brake lines tight and your gears clear of sand or debris.
Once in a while, you should give the bike a thorough wash. Not just to keep it shiny, but because any build-up of sane, grime and old grease can end up affecting your bike’s performance.
About The Author:
Peter MacCallister is a small business owner and blogger, he resides in Scotland and likes to write about up and coming entrepreneurial topics. You’ll likely find Peter in the comments section of any major business publication sparking debate and trying to keep things interesting!