With summer approaching and many organized activities cancelled, kids and adults alike are hitting the streets on their bikes. But with more riders exploring major roadways in addition to parks and trails, bike riding becomes more hazardous. Whether you’re a rider or motorist, get to know the best bicycle safety tips for summer fun.
Safe Cycling Tips
As a cyclist, it’s essential to know the basic safety measures to take when you’re about to hit the road (or park, or sidewalk) on your trusted two-wheeler. While some of these bicycle safety tips might seem obvious, lesser-known practices will ensure your safety all summer long.
- Wear a Helmet. All riders should wear helmets, though state laws vary. While adults usually aren’t required to wear them, kids usually are. Approved helmets have stickers indicating that they meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards, so verify before purchasing new headgear. Not sure which size you need? The helmet rim should sit level on your head, and the chin strap should allow no more than two fingers beneath it.
- Obey Road Rules. Follow the flow of traffic and signs just as you would as a driver and use hand signals for cyclists when you have to turn. Using the same logic, be respectful on shared sidewalks used by both pedestrians and cyclists. Affix a bell to your handlebars to alert walkers that you’re approaching. For extra safety, consider purchasing brake or signal lights.
- Stay Visible. Wear bright colours, use reflective gear and lights, especially at night. Some states require front lights, so make sure you’re in compliance. Lights can be attached to your bike, helmet or clothing. While riding, make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street so they see you and can stop safely.
- Perform Regular Bike Maintenance. Before riding, check your tire pressure, tighten any loose bolts, verify brake function and make sure the gears and chains are rust-free. Just as important, make sure your seat is at the appropriate height for comfortable riding.
- Avoid Loose Jewelry. You may want to show off your favourite bling while riding through town, but it’s best to opt for accessories that fit closer to your skin, so they don’t fly up or get caught on your handlebars. Consider basic beaded bracelets for a cause to stay stylish, safe and support sustainability efforts.
Being mindful of a few bicycle safety measures in your everyday riding activity will go a long way to keeping you and drivers on the road safe, so don’t take these tips lightly.
Driver Tips for Cyclist Interaction
Commuters, casual riders and kids may all cross your path this summer, and you share responsibility for vehicle and bicycle safety. Remember a few key considerations when you interact with bicyclists.
- Appreciate Vulnerability. Slow down when approaching a bicycle, giving at least three feet of clearance. After all, your car weighs two tons, so a cyclist riding a 20-pound bike is at a disadvantage. Even if you get in a tricky situation, never honk at riders, as sudden noises might cause an accident, resulting in severe injuries for the rider in particular.
- Scan and Yield. Always keep an eye on the road, because bikes can appear suddenly when you change lanes. If you need to turn, slow down and yield to cyclists first. One downfall? Drivers making right turns often run into trouble. If you have a cyclist behind you and fail to use your turn signal, the rider could run into your rear or right side.
- Safely Park and Exit. When you’re preparing to exit your vehicle, use the far hand reach to open the driver’s side door and avoid hitting any cyclists. Opening the door with the hand farthest from the door forces you to swivel your body and look in your mirrors as you exit, providing better visibility of oncoming cyclists.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your car—parking lot, neighbourhood street or highway—it’s important to be on alert for cyclists who can easily be injured by your vehicle.
Actively Practice Bicycle Safety Tips to Enjoy Summertime
Riding your bike with the wind in your face should be effortless and relaxing, and it usually is. But bicycle accidents happen every day, taking us by surprise. As drivers and riders, make a point to share the responsibility for your safety. Respect on the road goes a long way, so pay it forward and have a fantastic summer of fun!