Many countries, like the United States, actually have regulations which forbid cyclists from riding on sidewalks. That puts you out in the road. Unfortunately, many drivers today are paying more attention to their car stereo and smartphone than they are to what is going on outside their vehicle. That means you need to take responsibility for your personal safety when you cycle and bike on roadways.
Wearing a Helmet Is Not Enough
Should you wear a helmet when you cycle in traffic? Definitely. That is just a smart safety move and a legal requirement in some places. But it is only the beginning of a smart approach to roadway biking. You really should consider adopting the following attitudes, tips and strategies to improve your biking safety.
Get a Headlight
You should absolutely have a headlight if you ride at night. Even at twilight and in the middle of the day, a headlight makes you more visible.
Get On the Sidewalk
In some jurisdictions, cycling on the sidewalk is considered acceptable. In other areas you could draw a warning or even a substantial fine. Understand the laws in your area regarding bicycling on the sidewalk, and take advantage of this opportunity if it presents itself.
Wear Bright Clothes
If you are cycling for fitness, you have probably seen reflective clothing specifically made for keeping you safe while you ride. But you don’t have to spend money on these biking-specific tops and bottoms. Just wear bright clothes when you are riding in the street, and remember that “loud” patterns and stripes make you more visible as well.
Never Ride Against Traffic
You may think that riding against traffic is smart. After all, you can see the cars coming your way, right? Yes, but people in vehicles are not used to seeing something approaching them in their lane. And if someone is turning onto your road from a side street or residence and taking a right turn towards you, they may never see you coming.
Never Stop In a Car’s Blind Spot
At an intersection or red light when you have to stop, do so directly behind a vehicle. Never stop to the side of the vehicle, especially on the right. When the light turns green the driver to your left may make take a right turn and take you down because he never saw you.
There are some wonderfully helpful websites that keep you safe no matter what type of cycling activity you enjoy. Check out the following websites to keep you safe when you cycle on the road and elsewhere: BicycleSafe.com, Bicycling.com and BikeRadar.com.