As family guy so memorably pointed out, cycling is a great way to stay in shape!
And unlike higher intensity workouts, you don’t have to be in fantastic shape or have the fanciest equipment to get started. You do, however, have to make sure you take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe on the road.
Here are five tips to help you make certain you’re practicing safe cycling.
Wear a Helmet
Just as you should wear a seatbelt in your car, you should wear a helmet while cycling.
Riding a bicycle leaves you exposed to passing traffic, other cyclists, pedestrians and open pavement.
To protect yourself from a potentially fatal head injury, wearing proper safety equipment is absolutely critical. Over 60 percent of annual cycling deaths are due to head injury.
Don’t risk becoming part of that statistic.
Don’t Wear Headphones While Riding
It may be tempting to crank up the tunes on your earphones while biking to get you in the mood to get a great workout, but this can be extremely dangerous.
Wearing traditional headphones will impede your ability to hear what is going on around you.
Whether that is approaching traffic, emergency vehicles or other people, being aware of your surroundings is critical to keeping yourself safe. Many a cyclist has narrowly avoided injury because they were able to hear approaching danger before they could see it.
New technologies are being developed to help you enjoy your music without shutting you off from the outside world.
Keep Your Eyes Forward
Try to keep your eyes focused out in front of you to spot potential dangers or obstacles.
Glancing side to side is sometimes necessary and will also help you observe your surroundings, but focusing ahead can help you avoid things like storm gutters, debris, pedestrians and vehicles.
Make certain you’re not focusing on the pavement beneath your tires either, this won’t help you react to potential obstacles in time.
Know The Rules
Read up on traffic laws before you venture out.
Often times, cyclists are subject to the same laws as drivers, so make sure you know what is expected of you.
Each state will have various rules that apply specifically to cyclists, so be certain to brush up on your knowledge.
Safety in traffic is critical. Always obey stop signs and traffic lights and use proper hand signals to indicate turns.
Yield right of way to the appropriate party and make sure to ride in the same direction as traffic on your side of the road. Stay as far to the right as possible, but leave enough room between your bike and the edge of the road to avoid riding off the pavement.
Wear Brighter Or Reflective Clothing
According to Abels & Annes,
“Car accidents that occur on the shoulder of the road are very dangerous, and often, deadly. In fact, of all fatal accidents in the nation in 2009, about 40% of them involved the shoulder of the road impact.”
Wearing brighter clothing, whether it is a jacket or a vest, will alert motorists to your presence.
Many times, drivers may not notice that you are there if you blend in with other motorists, pedestrians or your surroundings.
It is especially important to wear bright and reflective clothing should you choose to ride in waning light or bad weather.
Make sure to attach reflective lights to your bicycle as well.
These will also alert drivers to your presence on the road.
As with any kind of cardiovascular exercise, make sure to hydrate adequately and consume proper nutrition, both to maximize the effects of your workout and to reduce the risk of injury.
This is especially vital in cycling, as the movements feel easier, so you might not get as parched as quickly. Don’t be deceived; the need for adequate hydration is no less vital!
Just like driving a car, riding a bicycle has its own rules and dangers.
To keep yourself safe, always be certain you are doing everything in your power to be aware and reactive to your surrounding.
Follow all the rules, be proactive, wear proper safety gear and most of all, enjoy the ride!