Eco-friendly and a ton of fun, riding a bike to work is catching on across the country. Its convenience helps eliminate traffic jams and puts the days of sitting on a crowded bus in the past. For many, there’s no better way to start the day than a refreshing bike to the office.
However, there’s a level of safety that needs discussed in the wake of this new fad. Take the following five rules into consideration before pedaling your way to work.
1. Always Wear a Helmet
Kids around the world hear the same phrase all the time, but adults share the same negative sentiment about this vital piece of safety equipment. Not only are helmets on of the least stylish accessories available, they also mess up your hair and are generally uncomfortable (compared to the feeling of rushing wind).
However, the top injury amongst cyclists are cranial. Wearing your helmet reduces the risk for head injury by 85%. If that isn’t enough to make you wear one, then knowing that 70% of fatal cycling accidents in 2010 were caused by a lack of helmets might.
2. A Bicycle is a Vehicle
It might not seem like it, but a bicycle is just as much a vehicle as an SUV or sedan when it comes to the law. The rules of the road still apply, and you need to adhere to them. That includes stopping at traffic lights, staying to the side to not halt the flow of traffic, and not weaving in and out of stopped cars.
While some states may consider these rules, others hold them as firm laws. Either way, ignoring them puts you at a high level of risk. There may be a time when you need to file a bicycle accident lawsuit, but the last thing you want is for an accident to be your fault.
3. Stay Aware
Distractions are a leading cause of accidents on the road for both motor vehicles and bicycles. Listening to music during your commute might seem like a good idea, but that distraction could lead to a severe injury.
Always stay aware of your surroundings. The best way to remain safe on the road is to be alert, keeping an eye out for other distracted drivers and obstacles.
4. Hand Signals Matter
Your bike is legally considered a vehicle, which means you can get a ticket for speeding (if you can believe it). That also means you are required to use turn signals just like a car. As a cyclist, you need to know the proper hand signals for various maneuvers.
Letting cars know when you’re turning could save your life. All you have to do is hold your left arm straight out when turning left, do the opposite for a right turn, and hold your left arm out and down as a brake signal.
5. Stay Visible
Staying visible in the daytime is simple, just stay out of drivers’ blind spots. At night, however, you’ll need reflective tape to help other vehicles see you. Your clothing should also contain reflective elements when riding at night. Finally, it isn’t a bad idea to have a be