Bicycle Safety Tips

Cycling is an effective exercise for cardiovascular fitness and muscle toning, but riders should take precautions to avoid injury. Biking is an activity that can be experienced alone on a country road or with the family in the park. You can cycle for pleasure or sport as long as you are prepared. Bicycle safety includes watching for others on the road, avoiding distractions and dressing properly for the sport.

Road rules

Cyclists are expected to follow most of the same rules of the road as other traffic. That includes stopping at red traffic lights and stop signs and using hand signs to signal turns. The safest way to travel on a thoroughfare is to travel in the same direction as the automobile traffic and use designated bike lanes when available. Cyclists should watch for additional dangers as well, such as doors suddenly opening on parked cars and drivers who don’t see them when turning or exiting driveways. Bike riders riding in groups should ride single file and announce to other cyclists when they are passing.

Attention

Cyclists must pay attention and avoid distractions. Mountain bikers should keep their eyes on the road to watch for drop-offs or stones in the path that could cause a spill. Riders should not wear headphones while riding to be able to hear others sharing the roads.

Helmets

Helmets are a vital piece of bicycle fitness because the helmet is designed to protect your head in the event of a fall, report doctors at the Mayo Clinic. A head injury can cause permanent brain damage and even death. The average cyclist falls about every 4,500 miles and even a slight bump on the head could be dangerous. Helmets should fit securely on top of the head and be tied under the chin with a strap. There is a wide range of helmets designed for various types of riding for toddlers, women, downhill racers and mountain bikers. The most popular helmets are elongated, with vents, made from EPS foam and covered with a thin, plastic shell.

Clothing

Bicyclists wearing brightly-colored vests or helmets are easier to spot for drivers. Dark clothes should be avoided, especially when riding at dusk or in the dark. Pant legs should be tight around the ankle or tied close to the leg to avoid getting caught in the spokes or the bike chain. Shoes should fit snugly and not have laces that could come loose and get caught in the chain either. Flip-flops, cleats or heeled shoes should not be worn while cycling.

About this Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist who’s spent more than 20 years doing in-depth research and reporting on trends in health care and fitness for newspapers and magazines, including the “Greenville News,” “Success,” “Verve,” and “American City Business Journals.” In addition to sports and alternative therapies, Ray has extensive experience covering banking, commercial development and people. Ray has a bachelor’s degree in journalism.