Do you enjoy cycling? Are you making sure that you keep yourself safe while you are at it? Read on to learn about several top cycling safety tips.
Your earliest memories of cycling might date back to your childhood. You remember climbing up on your bicycle for the first time and kicking off. It took you a few tries before getting it right, but once you figured it out, there was no stopping you.
Riding your bicycle was something you did for fun with friends and family. Today, not much has changed. You still enjoy cycling in your free time and reap all the many benefits of doing so as well.
However, before jumping on your bicycle and heading out on a ride, you should consider cycling safety. As a child, you were taught some basic cycling safety tips, but as an adult, there are a few more safety tips you should keep in mind.
You’re now cycling on busy streets, riding alongside traffic, and traveling further distances. To ensure you and your bike are kept safe at all times, continue reading the cycling safety guide below. Here’s everything you need to know about cycling safety!
Preparing for the Ride
To ensure optimal cycling safety, there’s a process you must follow. Cycling with safety doesn’t only depend on what you do while cycling. You must also focus on how well you prepare for your ride.
There are several safety steps to take before you get on your bike and head out. These steps will ensure you and your bicycle are prepared for the journey ahead. Here’s what you need to know.
Fit Your Helmet
You were most likely taught as a child that wearing a bike helmet is essential. You must wear your helmet before every ride to help keep yourself safe from major head injuries when possible. However, wearing any type of helmet won’t provide you with the best protection.
Instead, you need to fit and adjust your helmet to your head. The helmet needs to fit you correctly to ensure optimal protection. It’s also important to consider the type of cycling you’ll be doing.
For example, if you plan to go mountain biking, then it’s beneficial to wear a helmet made specifically for mountain biking. A full-face mountain bike helmet will protect your head and your face from any outdoor elements you might come in contact with during your ride.
Know what type of cycling you want to do and find the right helmet for the best protection.
Wear the Right Clothing
The type of clothing you choose to wear when going cycling is important as well. This might not seem like such a big aspect of cycling safety, but if cars and anyone else on the roads or bike paths can’t see you, then you’re putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
It’s important to be visible. Avoid wearing dark clothing and choose bright clothing instead. While riding in the dark, you should make sure your bike has reflectors on both the front and back of it.
Lights on your bicycle will also help make you stand out while riding at night. If you don’t always want to wear bright clothing for each ride, then consider purchasing a safety reflector vest to put on over your clothes.
Inspect Your Bike
The last thing you want to do is hop on your bicycle and leave your home on an unsafe bike. To prevent this from happening, you need to inspect your bicycle before every ride. The following are a few things you should check:
Check the brakes to ensure they’re tight and working properly. The tires should be inflated and free of leaks. The chains on your bicycle should run smoothly.
You can spin the crank and listen for strange noises. If it’s rusted or making noises, then be sure to oil it. You might also want to look into replacing it soon as well.
Install Mirrors on Your Bike
Installing rearview mirrors on your helmet or handlebars can come in handy when cycling. You first want to learn how to look over your shoulder without swerving, so you can check your surroundings with ease at all times. Mirrors can then give you a better view of what’s going on around you while your cycling.
Installing cameras on your bicycle could be beneficial as well, in case you’re involved in some type of accident. Your cameras will act as evidence and proof of exactly what happened. It’s always beneficial to be prepared.
Stay Hydrated Before and During
Even if you don’t plan on traveling far, it’s always necessary to stay hydrated before and during your bicycle ride. Drink lots of water before your ride and then bring a water bottle with you. It’s ideal to bring an insulated, refillable water bottle so you can refill it at water stations when available.
Make sure to choose a water bottle that’s easy to use with one hand and that can easily fit in your bicycle’s cup holder. Another option to consider is a hydration pack. These hydration packs are worn as backpacks with a hands-free method of accessing water.
Hydration packs are most beneficial when mountain biking and cycling far distances, but can be used no matter what type of cycling you’re doing.
Protect Yourself From the Sun
Here’s a cycling safety tip you might not think to do. When planning your cycling trip, do you consider how many hours you’ll be exposed to the sun? Even if you’ll only be exposed to the sun for 30 minutes, you still need to protect your skin.
Choose bright, sun-protecting clothing, and be sure to wear enough sunscreen as well. Bring some with you if cycling for more than an hour so you can reapply as needed. Sunglasses are also ideal and can save you from being partially blinded by the bright sun at times.
Ride With a Cycling Partner
You’re not a small child anymore and you don’t require an adult to ride along with you. However, it’s beneficial to ride with a cycling partner from time to time. Two cyclists are easier to spot on the road than one.
Having a cycling buddy with you can also come in handy if any accidents were to happen. You’ll both be there for one another in case of an emergency.
Bring a Patch Kit With You
Even though you checked your tires before leaving the house, you never know when you might get a flat. There’s always the chance of running over something that pops your tire and inflates it. What’s your backup plan if this were to happen?
Keeping a patch kit with you at all times will give you the extra tire security you need. If when out cycling your tire were to go flat, you can quickly patch it and inflate it with a manual pump. Place the kit in your backpack or bicycle basket.
Pack a Cell Phone and an ID
The last few items you want to bring along with you are a cell phone, an ID, and cash. Why are these items so important to have with you? A cell phone is your main source of communication if you were to ever need emergency services or help from a friend.
It’s important to keep an ID on you so emergency responders can easily identify you if needed. Keep these items in a safe place inside your backpack to prevent outside elements from ruining them.
Riding With Safety in Mind
You’ve made all the right safety checks to prepare for your cycling trip, but what safety tips do you need to follow while cycling? Whether you’re cycling on busy roads or cycling through the mountains, there’s cycling safety advice you should follow. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while riding your bicycle.
Ride With the Flow of Traffic
As a cyclist, you want to ride with the flow of traffic. Avoid cycling against it. When you cycle against traffic, it makes it more difficult for those around you to predict what you might do.
When you ride in traffic, you should act as if you’re in a vehicle. Follow all the same rules you would if driving a car. If there are bicycle lanes, then stay in those lanes.
Give yourself enough room to get out of the way if needed by cycling closer to the left side of your bicycle lane. If you need to swerve out of the way for any reason, you’ll have some space left on the right to do so.
Carry Items Safely
If you’re carrying items with you on your bicycle, then it’s important to have them in a safe place. You don’t want to reduce your cycling to only one hand because you’re holding something in the other. Bring a backpack with you when cycling so you always have the option to put something in it.
Having a basket on your bicycle will come in handy for this reason as well. If you have no other options, then you can place a grocery bag on one of your handles to hold the items in.
Follow Traffic Laws and Signals
Although you’re not driving a car, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow all the same traffic laws and signals. As a cyclist, you should still follow all the same traffic laws that you would if you were driving a car. Know your traffic signals and follow them precisely.
Use hand signals to let the cars around you know what your next move is, such as sticking your right arm out straight to indicate you’re turning right. Stop at stop signs, slow down at yellow lights, don’t make illegal u-turns, and so on. When you ride like a vehicle on the road, you’ll decrease the chances of being involved in an accident.
Warn Others When You’re Approaching
A bicycle isn’t a large vehicle, but you still shouldn’t approach someone without warning them first. To avoid sneaking up on someone, make sure you know how to communicate. Speak up to let someone know you’re coming up behind them.
You can shout, “on your left” or “on your right” to let others know you’re approaching. Keep in mind that even if you can easily maneuver around someone in a tight space, others might not be as skilled, and surprising them could cause them to lose their balance.
Stay Aware of Hazards on the Road
Unfortunately, there could be hazards on the road no matter where you choose to cycle at. You should also be cautious of road hazards and prepare to avoid them. For example, potholes, uneven surfaces, pebbles, and other obstructions can cause you to lose balance if you’re surprised by them.
If you choose to ride the same paths each time, then you’ll become familiar with the paths/roads and can maneuver around them more easily. However, when cycling on new paths, always be prepared for the unexpected.
Avoid Wearing Headsets While Riding
You hop on your bicycle, take a sip from your water bottle, put in your headphones, and strap your helmet on. You’re ready to go but wait. Wearing headphones while cycling can be dangerous because it limits your hearing.
If a vehicle were to quickly approach you, then would you be able to hear it coming? If another cyclist shouts out a warning to let you know they’re coming up on your left, would you know to merge towards the right?
Wearing headphones while cycling should be avoided for this reason. If you must listen to them while riding, then consider placing the volume low enough so you can still hear everything around you.
Put Cycling Safety at the Top of Your Priority List
Any professional cyclist will tell you that following proper cycling safety is a necessity. These cycling safety tips will not only keep you safe but will keep all others around you safe as well. Make sure to prepare yourself and your bicycle before each ride and know how to remain safe during your entire ride by keeping this guide handy.
Are you ready for a new bicycle? Check out the best mountain bike brands to choose from by clicking here.