Cycling has become more and more popular nowadays and for many people, the bike has become their first vehicle. As we all know, cycling is environment-friendly and gives you a workout to boost your fitness and health. However, the risk of fatal crashes also increases. According to the reports, there are 500,000 people who are treated in emergency rooms as a result of cycling crashes and about 7,800 people were killed each year. There are 10 tips for you to avoid fatal crashes while cycling.
Wear your cycle helmet
Wearing your helmet may save your life and a helmet is an essential part of your cycling gear no matter where you are or how short the ride is. According to a study, riders who ride without helmets are 14 times more likely to die because of fatal head injuries compared to those who are wearing helmets. Wearing a helmet can protect one of the most vulnerable parts of your body: head and reduces the risk of fatal injury or serious head or facial injury. In many places, wearing a helmet is the law. It’s important to make sure your helmet fit you to give you the best protection. The size of helmets can vary between manufacturers and it’s a good way to look into the mirror or ask some else to adjust the straps.
Obey the traffic rules
The main reason for bike crashes is that many riders ignore traffic lights and switch between the road and crosswalk which are very stupid and dangerous. It is of great importance for you to obey all the traffic rules just like an average motorist when cycling on the road. You should always stop at the stop signs and red lights and pay extra attention to intersections. If you are a beginner, you’d better learn the traffic laws before your riding.
Riding without bike lights will put your life in real danger. According to a study, nearly a third of cycling fatalities happened between 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM and fatal accidents tend to occur between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. If you are riding at night, in fog, rain, snow storm and dust storms, lighting up like a Christmas tree is necessary because vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians are in limited visibility conditions. With a bright white light of a flashing mode, you will be easier to spot, even during daytime.
Wear reflective clothing
To make yourself more visible to other motorists especially when you are riding at night, you should wear reflective clothing which will allow other road users to see you and give drivers more time and distance to react your presence. Investing in clothing meant for biking is worthwhile because they are pretty effective in increasing your visibility. Researchers have found that well- designed reflective clothing can increase your recognition by motorists 75%-100% compared to non-reflective clothing and greatly reduce the risk of collisions.wear your helmet
The motorists will know what you intend to do and react to avoid a crash if you ride predictably. That is you need to drive where you are expected to be seen, ride in a straight line, not be in and out cars and don’t turn left or right suddenly without any signs. You should let other drivers know you are about to turn by signaling with your arm.
check your bike regularly
Before your riding, you should always check your bike to see if the brakes, reflectors, wheels, and gears are working well. Make sure the brakes can apply enough pressure to stop your bike.
Don’t ride against traffic
You should always ride in the same direction as cars do and never ride against traffic. Riding against traffic seems like a good idea for many people because they can see the cars passing them. However, they are totally wrong. Drivers would never expect that someone would be coming at them from the wrong direction.
Don’t ride with headphones on
I don’t think riding with headphones on is a good idea. If you listen to music players, it will prevent you from hearing the surroundings and lessen your awareness and senses. You should have 100 percent of your focus on the road and use all your senses to prevent unexpected accidents. If you do wearing headphones when biking, you’d better keep one earbud out and keep the volume as low as possible to make sure you can hear the noise outside.
Improve your riding skillsride with group to improve your riding skills
Practice makes perfect. I mean to improve your riding skills, you need to practice biking in some places far away from traffic. No one is born to ride a bike safely without practice and experience. Riding a bike safely requires your full preparation. Besides, you can also take an on-bike class in your school or local bike shop. Joining your local bike club is also a good idea to improve your skills. If you learn to navigate and communicate with other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, your confidence will build up.
Avoid sidewalk riding
Riding in sidewalk can be very dangerous and cyclists on a sidewalk are more likely to be hit. A study has found that riding on a sidewalk and wrong way is 4.5 times more dangerous than riding on the right road because you are invisible to turning motorists. If you have to ride on sidewalks, consider walking your bike or ride as slowly as possible. Watch out when you are transitioning to and from the roadway.
Safety comes first and I hope the above tips will help you ride safe and sound.