10 Essential Bicycle Safety Tips for the New Rider

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By Marcus Fernandez

Whether the incentive is health, cost savings, or just fun in the great outdoors, more and more people are taking to the road on two wheels. Riding a bike has a number of important benefits, from providing a strong cardiovascular workout to meeting new people to reducing gas consumption. If you are thinking about taking the road on your own two wheels, it is important to always put bicycle safety first. You may remember how to ride a bike from your childhood days, but now that you are older, wiser and more informed you will have some new things to think about, including these 10 essential bicycle safety tips.

1. Invest in a quality helmet.

Your head is worth protecting, so purchase the best fitting helmet you can afford. If you are unsure of which helmet to buy, consult a cycling expert at your local bicycle shop.

2. Wear bright colors when you ride.

Being visible is the key to safety when you are riding your bike. So wear light colors that reflect both sunlight and headlights. If you must wear darker clothing, add reflective strips to your shirt, pants and bicycle frame. 

3. Stick to the bike trails as you gain experience.

No matter how many hours you rode as a kid, chances are you are out of practice. Sticking to the bike trails for a few weeks will give you the confidence you need to ride safely in traffic. 

4. Avoid distractions.

You need your wits about you when you ride, so block out potential distractions. Listening to music could dampen external sounds, including honking horns and other things that require your full attention. 

5. Be courteous to the drivers you share the road with.

Many drivers are rude or openly hostile to cyclists, but returning that discourtesy will get you nowhere. If you want to stay safe, start by being a courteous rider, moving over to the berm, giving traffic room to pass and following the rules of the road. 

6. Enroll in a bicycle safety course.

One of the best ways to stay safe while riding is to enroll in a bicycle safety course. These informative and practical classes are offered by local bike clubs, senior organizations and even some school districts. 

7. Learn the rules of the road.

If you cannot attend a bicycle safety class in person, you can educate yourself by downloading a current copy of the traffic safety guidelines and applicable laws. The laws concerning cyclists will vary from state to state, so make sure you are looking at the right document. The Florida Department of Transportation has great resources for Sunshine State residents.

8. Keep your bike in good repair.

A poorly maintained bicycle is a dangerous vehicle, and a sudden failure could leave you stranded, or worse. If you want to ride safely, start by making sure your two-wheeled road vehicle is well maintained. 

9. Avoid riding at rush hour.

Riding in heavy traffic is far more dangerous than hitting the road at a less busy time. Try to avoid rush hour as much as possible. A few minutes of delay could make a world of difference in your safety. 

10. Do a pre-ride safety check – every time.

Whether you are hitting the road for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood, commuting back and forth to work or just having fun, be sure to do a pre-ride safety check every time. Making sure the tires are properly inflated and that everything is in working order is vital for your safety and that of your fellow motorists and riders. 

Riding a bike to work is a great way to fight back against rising gas prices. Cycling to work is also the perfect way to reduce your carbon footprint, so you can live a cleaner and greener lifestyle going forward. On the less practical side, riding a bike is simply fun, not to mention that it is a wonderful form of exercise. If you are planning to hit the road on two wheels, however, bicycle safety should always come first. The 10 tips listed above can help you ride safely, so you can enjoy your new form of transportation without worrying about the dangers. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, reach out to the experienced personal injury lawyers at Kinney, Fernandez and Boire Law for a free case evaluation.