The number of deaths resulting from bicycle accidents has been declining over the years. But in the recent past, research has shown that these deaths are on the rise again. Today, it’s unfortunate that the number of fatal bike accidents is more than those related to other modes of transport.
Deaths resulting from bike accidents began to rise in 2011. An increasing number of riders are getting killed every year. In 2016, more than 1000 bike riders were killed in the U.S. This is a worrying trend that calls for every bike rider to be extra cautious on the road. If you are a biker, here are the top ten tips that can keep you safe on the road:
1. Wearing Reflective Attire:
When on the road, you need to be visible to other road users. If a driver can’t see you, an accident will likely occur. This happens mostly in the evening hours or at night, and especially at intersections where your paths cross. Having a reflective attire will make other road users see you from a distance because it increases your visibility.
2. Your Hands Should Always Be On The Bike:
Having your hands on the bike will ensure you are in control, and it also gives you a sense of balance. Many bike riders, especially the young ones, like to play on the road, trying to ride hands-free. This causes imbalance and has resulted in many deaths.
3. Wearing A Helmet:
Wearing a helmet may sound like an obvious requirement, but many deaths have resulted from head injuries. Wearing headgears reduces the chances of fatal injuries by up to 70%. Research has also shown that 97% of bike accident victims never wear helmets. So, to be safe on the road, ensure you always have your helmet on before riding a bike.
4. Use The Dedicated Lanes For Bikes:
If the road you are using has a dedicated bike lane, stick to it. The bike lanes are designed to protect you, so you don’t have to ignore them.
5. Checking Your Bike Well Before You Ride:
Most bike accidents are caused by malfunction of the bikes or the bike equipment. Such glitches have caused severe crashes. So before you hit the road, check your gear, helmet, chain, brake, etc. Also, check your lights and reflectors, and ensure your tires are adequately inflated.
6. Limit Distractions:
Distractions are the most prominent causes of fatal road accidents. When riding a bike, remain focused, and always keep your eyes on the road. If you need to drink water while you ride, it’s best to have it at an easily accessible place.
7. Know And Use Your Signals Well:
Bikes are not like vehicles that have light indicators. In most cases, you’ll be using your hands to signal other road users. So, you need to ensure you are familiar with all bike hand signals. You can use these signals to communicate with drivers and even other cyclists.
8. Flow With The Traffic:
Try as much as possible to ride in the same direction as other traffic on the road. You’ll likely get involved in an accident if you try to move against the flow of the traffic.
9. Ride As You Would Drive A Car:
When riding a bike, act as if you are driving a car. Don’t try to weave in and out of traffic, or do some risky maneuvering. Obey all traffic signals, and ensure you maintain a good speed while on the road. Most importantly, don’t ride while drunk.
10. Stay Away From The Sidewalks:
You might think a sidewalk is a safe option when riding on a highway, but that’s not the case. Remember, sidewalks for pedestrians. So, it’s best to leave it for the pedestrians. If the path is crowded, you can lose control and hit a pedestrian. Secondly, if you attempt to enter the road from the sidewalk, you’ll likely get hit by a car.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
Is my helmet old and needs replacement?
It would be best if you always inspected your helmet before you start riding. Look for dents or cracks in its foam. Also, check if the foam is crumbling or degrading. These are some of the signs that you need a new helmet. A helmet should last for about three years. However, if it crashes, you’ll replace it immediately. You can check the buckles to ensure the helmet fits safely.
I have stored my bike for some time, is it safe to start riding right away?
When a bike is stored, it will still undergo some wear. The cables can get loose if the bike is moved or bumped around, and the chain lubrication and grease can also dry over time. So, if your bike has been in store for some time, first take it to a local bike shop to get checked before you start riding.
If I fail to stop at stop signs, can I get a citation?
Yes. Bike citations get issued for those who fail to comply with the stop-signs. The reasons for citation include failing to stop at stop signs, riding an unregistered bike, covering both ears while riding, absence of front bike light, among others. You need to learn all the regulations before you start riding a bike.
What do I need to do if I crash on my bike?
In case you are seriously injured, you can call an ambulance or the police; that’s if you can do so. Otherwise, you may get help from passersby. In case of minor injuries, you can visit your doctor for a check-up. Treat all crashes as an emergency and seek help as soon as possible. It is also advisable to exchange information with all those involved in the crash. Remember, the police and insurance companies may get involved, and they may need some evidence. So, you can as well take some photos or videos if possible.
Is there unique clothing for riding bikes?
If you are riding for a short distance, you can ride in your ordinary work clothes. However, you may need to use a pant-leg band. This will prevent the pants from touching the chain. Don’t ride in a dress/skirt with long or loose fabric, or high heels. When you have to ride on a long-distance, you may need to be in a jersey and bike pants or bike shorts. This attire can wick the moisture and keep you dry and comfortable. You’ll also need flat-soles shoes and your helmet, of course.
When on the road, remember you are not alone. As you take care of your safety, ensure all other road users are also safe. Communicate with other road users, and try to be predictable - don’t surprise other road users. If possible, you can take a bike riding course.
Hello Guys! I am John Reese, a professional biker and my hobby is biking! I have been biking for last 10 years and I love using bikes while outing as well. Based on my experiences with the different type of bikes (mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrid bikes); I am sharing my opinion about various bikes so that a beginner can get started right away. Happy reading!