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Bike Commuting Safety Tips
There are so many reasons why you should bike to work. It will save you money, keep you fit, and it’s better for the environment.
Bike commuting does have its safety issues, though. For a start, you will be competing for space on the roads with car drivers, some of whom aren’t very tolerant of cyclists.
You will also need to wear appropriate safety gear. And, make sure that car drivers can see you.
If you are thinking about biking to work, here are our top 15 safety tips for first time bike commuters.
1. Take It Easy to Begin With
If you have decided to bike to work, take it easy to begin with. Try it for two or three days of the week and see how you get on.
You’ll need to get used to the extra daily exercise. If you push it too hard too soon, you may find it too much and give up altogether.
2. Plan a Safe Route
The route you take to work on a bike may be different to the route you take in your car. When you are riding a bike, you will want to avoid the busiest roads and the most difficult intersections if you can.
Plan a safe route in advance of your first commute to work on your bike. Avoid the busiest roads and see if you can find any bike paths that will get you to your destination.
3. Complete a Trial Run on a Weekend
Practice your route to work on a weekend. Complete your route at a steady pace so that you can get your timing right for the commute to work.
Don’t cycle too fast. You don’t want to have to be racing to get to work on time. Remember, you will have a full day’s work ahead of you, and you will need to cycle home again too.
4. Wear a Helmet
The number one bike commuting safety tip is to wear a bike helmet. If you only buy one single item of bike safety equipment, buy a helmet.
In the unlikely event that you come off your bike, a helmet could save your life.
5. Check Your Bike
Check your bike over before you start bike commuting to work. Your bike is going to need to be safe and reliable if you are going to be using every day.
Make sure the tires are in good condition and inflated. Check the chain and oil it if necessary. And, make sure the brakes are working.
6. Follow the Rules of The Road
Being on a bike doesn’t mean that you can ignore the rules of the road. If you ignore the rules of the road, you could put yourself in danger.
Bike on the correct side of the road and ride with the flow of traffic. Don’t ignore traffic signals.
The best way to stay safe is to obey all the traffic laws. Then, you won’t be doing anything that may take car drivers by surprise.
7. Make Yourself Visible
When you are commuting in the morning and evenings the light may not too good. It’s important for safety that you make yourself visible to motorists.
It’s also a good idea to wear bright colored clothes when you are cycling. You can always change your clothes if you want to when you get to work.
8. Use Hand Signals
Use hand signals to warn car drivers of your intentions. Being predictable allows drivers to take appropriate action to avoid you.
Failure to give signals on a bike is as dangerous as it is in a car. If you make an unexpected turn, a car driver may not have enough time to avoid you.
9. Watch Out for Car Doors Opening
One of the common causes of bike accidents is people opening car doors without looking for bikes.
Expect the unexpected. If you are passing a parked car, leave as much room between you and the car as you can.
Car drivers should look before they open their door. But, knowing that you are in the right isn’t going to prevent an accident.
10. Be Aware of Pedestrians
Watch out for pedestrians as well. They will be looking for cars more than they are looking for bikes.
Pedestrians may step off the sidewalk without noticing you. So, if it looks like they may step into the road, alert them that you are approaching. And, be ready to avoid them if they don’t see you.
11. Get A Bell
If you don’t already have one, buy a bell for your bike before you start commuting to work.
You may not have needed one before. But, if you plan on cycling to work in a busy city, a bell is going to be essential.
12. Stay Alert
The best safety tip we can give first time bike commuters is to stay alert. Biking in the rush hour is a lot different from a bike ride down a quiet country back-road or on a bike trail.
Stay alert. Look at what is happening in front of you and around you. If you anticipate danger, you will be able to avoid it.
13. Get Off and Walk If You Need To
Some intersections are so tricky that it will be safer to get off your bike and cross it as a pedestrian.
Don’t be hesitant about doing this if you need to. If the traffic is too heavy or fast, or you don’t feel safe, get off and walk. It will only add a few minutes to your journey.
14. Don’t Wear Headphones
It’s illegal to wear headphones while biking in some states. It’s also distracting and dangerous.
If you are listening to music when cycling, you may not hear approaching vehicles.
15. Be Aware of Motorists’ Blind Spots
Think about whether a motorist can see you. This especially important with large vehicles like trucks.
When you are coming up the side of stationary vehicle, the driver may not be able to see you in their mirrors. If they make a turn, you may not be able to get out of the way.
If you think that here may be a chance that a driver won’t see you passing, don’t pass. Especially if you are approaching an intersection.
Many thanks for reading our safety tips for first time bike commuters. If you liked this post, please feel free to share it on your social media accounts.
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Thanks again for visiting. Come back again soon! In the meantime, have a great and a safe day!