Riding bicycles is a great way to travel, exercise, and get fresh air. Many people enjoy biking for fun and health benefits. However, sharing the road with drivers can create danger for bicyclists. Therefore, bicyclists and drivers need to do everything possible to share the road safely and protect themselves and others around them.
The following bike safety tips for adults can save lives.
Bike Safety Tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an agency of the federal government under the Department of Transportation. The NHTSA’s core mission is to help keep everyone on the road safe and minimize crashes and injuries.
Part of their mission is to help keep bicyclists out of harm’s way. Collisions between bicyclists and drivers are prevalent, so the NHTSA has provided bike safety tips for adults to help avoid these dangerous occurrences.
Bicyclists Should Always Wear Helmets
Bicycles are unlike vehicles in many ways, but one of the most significant differences is that bicyclists have no protection in case of an accident.
Head trauma and brain injuries are common after a bike accident; bicyclists should always wear a helmet to prevent any type of head injury should they experience a collision.
Bicycle helmets vary in size, so the NHTSA recommends finding the appropriate size for you to maximize protection.
Bicyclists Should Be Prepared Before Getting on the Road
Before heading out, bicyclists should prepare thoroughly. Preparing can include:
- Putting on safety gear, including a helmet and reflective clothing or accessories
- Ensuring the bike is working correctly and brakes are in good shape
- Ensuring nothing gets caught in the bike, like shoe laces or pant legs
Additionally, it’s important to plan a safe route ahead of time. When driving on the road, pick routes with less traffic and designated bike lanes.
Remain Focused on the Road at All Times
This tip goes for both bicyclists and drivers — always keep your eyes on the road and remain alert. Many vehicle and bicycle collisions occur because either party was driving distractedly or failed to follow street signs. Focusing on the road and respecting road rules and others around you can significantly help prevent accidents.
Drive and Ride Predictably
Driving or riding predictably ensures that other drivers and bicyclists know what you’re doing or intend to do.
For example, signaling to other drivers and riders when you’re about to turn warns others of what you’re about to do. Understanding what another person will do before they do it can substantially help reduce collisions.
Minimize or Avoid Riding Bikes on the Sidewalk
While some cities make sidewalk riding illegal, some do not, allowing cyclists to ride on sidewalks. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Riding on the sidewalk can be dangerous for bicycles and particularly unsafe for pedestrians. Sidewalks are safe spaces for pedestrians to walk, and many do not expect to see bicyclists sharing the sidewalk with them.
If you do ride on the sidewalk, make sure to ride with the flow of traffic and warn pedestrians when you are riding behind them so they know you’re coming.
Work on Riding Skills
Riding a bicycle is not as easy as it might seem. Similar to driving a car, bicyclists need to learn how to properly and safely navigate the roads.
If you just started riding a bicycle, it wouldn’t be wise to ride a bike on one of the busiest streets during rush hour traffic. Start slow and learn as you go to ensure you feel comfortable navigating the roads on a bike.
Drivers Should Respectfully Share the Road with Bicyclists
Bicyclists often frustrate drivers, as they ride slower and can hold up traffic. Nonetheless, bicyclists deserve the same respect as all other drivers on the road.
When sharing the road with bicyclists, drivers should:
- Pay attention to the road and be aware of your surroundings at all times
- Yield to bicyclists like you would yield for any other motorist
- Obey the speed limit and all traffic rules
- Give cyclists the room they need
When drivers respect bicyclists and share the road respectfully, it can minimize the occurrence of accidents.
Following These Bike Safety Tips for Adults Can Help Drivers and Cyclists Keep Roads Safe
It can be challenging to ride bikes on the streets and share the roads, but it’s completely doable with some patience and respect for others. Following bike safety tips for adults is key to minimizing collisions between bicyclists and motorists and keeping everyone on the road out of harm’s way.
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