Staying Safe On Your Bike
How To Stay Safe On Your Bike With more people getting on their bikes for fitness or transport and event season being upon us there is no better time to think about staying safe on the road. Check out our safety tips below:
Choose the Right Bike Make sure your bike is the right frame size for you and is fit for the purpose you want to use it for. Incorrect frame size can cause you to lose control of the bike at critical times. Your bike shop can check your frame size for you if you are unsure.
Keep Your Bike In Good Repair It’s important to keep your bike running smoothly at all times through regular checks, and if necessary adjustments, of key parts of the bike. Check brakes and tires regularly especially. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.
Obey Traffic Signs And Signals You need to ride your bike using the same rules as other vehicles if you want to be taken seriously by motorists. And remember there are a lot more cars than bikes on the road (it’s a shame isn’t it?) and they are bigger and heavier than you so you need to treat them, and the rules, with respect.
Hand Signals Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection are a smart move. How else will those drivers know where you are headed?
Ride In Middle Of The Lane In Slow Traffic Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you’re moving at the same speed as traffic. You have as much right as a car to use as much of the lane as you need at certain times. When traffic is slow you need to protect your position.
Make Eye Contact With Drivers Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
Follow Lane Markings Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked "right-turn only." And so on. You just increase your risk of getting tangled up with some heavy metal if you do.
Watch out for Cars It may sound ridiculously obvious but cars can seemingly appear out of nowhere. Keep your eyes alert for cars at intersections, driveways and parking places.
Scan the Traffic Be careful when checking traffic and don't swerve when looking over your shoulder. You need to get confident at scanning the road forward and behind without swerving into the traffic you are trying to avoid. Practice on quiet roads.
Give pedestrians the right-of-way Accidentally running into a pedestrian could be seriously hazardous for the health of both of you. Give pedestrians right of way - especially if you are on a pathway or pedestrian crossing!
Keep Both Hands Ready To Brake You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed and you are less likely to stay in control of your bike. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet and need more of a squeezing/ pumping action.
Avoid Road Hazards Watch out for pot holes, parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, glass or other debris and be sure to point them out to others if you’re in a group. Always cross railroad tracks at right angles to avoid sliding or getting your wheel stuck.
Never Ride With Headphones Music is a great motivator but there is a time and place for it. Riding with headphones and music playing blocks out your awareness of traffic, other riders and your cycling environment. If you need music to get you cranking listen to it for five minutes before your ride.
Wear a Helmet Surely everyone knows this by now? Be sure that the helmet is done up, properly fits, meets the safety standards and is worn in the correct manner. Again, a great place to start for assistance with your helmet is your local bike shop.
- Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes.
- In rain wear a light, breathable rain jacket.
- Wear protective eyewear – not only does it protect you eyes from the sun it also protects them from road grit, bugs and other undesirables.
- Choose bright or reflective clothing – reflective or fluoro clothing is getting more popular and better looking all the time and is a wise move especially at dawn or dusk.
- Wearing gloves is also a smart move - for comfort and protection.
Use Lights At Night You need a white headlight and rear tail-light. There are numerous styles and choices and if you are riding in the dark you absolutely must have them. Even at dawn or dusk they are highly recommended. You can’t be too visible.
Be Patient And Cooperate There’s no point getting aggressive with motorists. Just be patient and accept that not everyone will see you or be courteous to you all the time. But if you keep your cool, cooperate where you need to and keep yourself safe you’ll have a much happier ride.