Whether you ride a bicycle as a mode of transportation or as a leisurely activity — safety should be top of mind. This is because on both nature paths and main roads, you can come across hazards that can knock you off your bike.
Here are five ways you can be cautious through the course of your journey:
- Install lights
Since you are likely to pass traffic or at least pass pedestrians out on public trails or streets, making your presence known can save you from collision. During the day, this can include brightly colored clothing. But at night, even a fluorescent-colored shirt can be difficult to spot. This is where adding lights comes into play. In fact, state law requires bike riders who plan to cruise anytime from sunset to sunrise to have a white light attached to the front of their bike and a red reflector or light attached to the back side of their bike.
- Signal before turning
Many accidents happen between all kinds of travelers because there is no way to predict the next move of others when they offer no warning. So, just because you don’t have a blinker to flick on when you turn, that doesn’t mean motorists will slow down with you at each intersection in case you do turn. Rather, you can learn how to use hand signals to let drivers know your intentions.
- Wear a helmet
When you have yet to experience a fall from your bike that has caused you extreme pain, then you might find it difficult to understand the purpose of a helmet. The truth is your head can use all the protection it can get. This is because if you do end up falling off your bike one day, a helmet can protect you from a traumatic brain injury or even death. If you are already in the habit of wearing a helmet, it’s important to make sure it fits you well and that you buckle the straps.
- Follow traffic flow
According to state statutes, bicyclists in Florida share the same rights as other drivers on the road. This means that when you enter the roadway, law requires you to follow the same rules that motorists abide by — from obeying signs and signals to riding in the same direction as the rest of the traffic. Plus, riding on the right side of the road offers drivers more leeway to adjust to driving next you. Just think, the last thing you want to do is face a motorist head-on in a tight space or on busy road.
- Watch parked cars
While being mindful of all the moving cars, buses and trucks around you is critical. It’s also important to pay attention to parked cars that you pass, as it only takes a few seconds for you to hit by a driver opening their door.
Following rules and dressing for others might not seem self-serving at first. But, being aware of the rules of the road and preparing for the worst possible outcome may save you from serious injuries.