3 Tips Guaranteed to Keep You Safe While Riding a Bike in the City

Pakistani women ride their bikes towards the city's landmark Faisal Mosque to mark International Women's day in Islamabad on March 8, 2013. A group of determined women took to bikes March 8, riding through the Pakistani capital to highlight their rights and love of exercise in a culture that often treats them as second-class citizens. AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEMFAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT:

The call to change our ways and become more environmentally conscious is at an all time high, and that’s particularly why lots of people have shifted from driving cars to riding bikes. This fast and fuel-free alternative can help bring you where you want to go and burn those extra calories all at the same time. However, because bikes don’t come with the same exterior that cars do, crashing can be significantly more injurious. Be sure to stay safe and to avoid accidents while getting fit at the same time by checking out these three tips for safe city cycling.1

  1. Ride Close to the Sidewalk – In any case, the sidewalk is your friend. While many local government rules and regulations don’t actually allow bike riders on sidewalks, staying close to one will allow you the chance to steer clear of a potential accident without getting in the way of motorists. What’s more, cars tend to avoid sidewalks mainly because nobody wants to snag an absent-minded passer-by or a fire hydrant. If there are lanes specifically dedicated to bike riders, take advantage of them and avoid joining vehicles on the road whenever possible.2
  2. Know the Common Accidents – By understanding the most common accidents for bike riders, you can stay alert and do your best to avoid them. Getting hit by an opening door of a parked car along the side of the road is one of them, so if you’re passing by parked cars, ride slowly and try to see if there’s anyone inside prepping to go out by checking out the silhouettes through the windows. It’s also common for bike riders to get snagged in dark conditions. Fitting a light reflector and bright clothing during night biking can help make you more visible to cars. It also helps to park your bike wisely to prevent the dreaded runaway bike situation. Consider investing in a foldable bicycle for safe storage and parking.3
  3. Use Your Hand Signals – One of the ways that cars stay safe is by the use of signal lights. This helps those around them understand their plans and where they plan to g,o so that everyone sharing the road can adjust themselves and anticipate any lane changes or turns. Even if your bike doesn’t come equipped with signal lights, you can use your hands to tell other road users if you plan to turn or change lanes. Be mindful however of when and how to stretch out your signal hands. Glance backwards and avoid abrupt signaling to avoid injury to your arms.

Helmets, knee pads, and other protective gear stand no chance against vehicular accidents. Be sure to stay safe in the city while riding your bike by avoiding accidents in the first place. Take these tips with you the next time you head out on your bike for accident-free city navigation.

 

 

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