Whether you ride you bicycle in a bigger metropolis for leisure, exercise, or commuting to and from employment, even if you are extremely cautious, accidents involving cyclists occur frequently and can result in serious injury or even death.
When riding in a big city, traffic can get busy and motorists are not always mindful or concerned about the presence of cyclists. Therefore, you need to do your part in keeping yourself safe from harm. There are certain precautions you can take. Below are 4 safety tips that if followed will allow you to be safe while riding your city bicycle.
1. Check your bicycle
It would be an absolute nightmare if you set off on your bicycle and end up having an incident that was caused by the bike itself. To prevent this, it is crucial that you check over your bicycle to make sure it is safe before you leave for your destination. Check your front and rear brakes to ensure they work property and check the air in your tires. Insufficient air may cause the inability to steer correctly and if your tire goes completely flat you may be left stranded.
Also check that all bolts are secure and consider carrying a first aid and emergency tool kit. These are very compact and although you think you will never need it, they would definitely be helpful in the event you get hurt or your bicycle needs to be repaired.
2. Wear a helmet
This tip is a no-brainer but the amount of people who do not wear helmets and deaths that could have been prevented by doing so is alarming. It is not enough to wear your helmet, you have to make sure you do it properly. Wear the device level on your head about one inch above your eyebrows. Any higher on your head will not protect you in case of a fall and any lower will impede your ability to see.
Adjust the strap so it is snug to your chin. If the helmet shifts at all, this means it is too big and a smaller one should be worn or pads that are usually included with the purchase of a helmet should be added. The side straps should be snug to your head and the part in them that forms a Y should be just below your earlobes.
3. Go with traffic
it is a common misconception that a cyclist should go against traffic so both cyclists and motorists can easily see each other but this is very dangerous. Cyclists often do this on one-way streets and get into accidents because motorists turn not thinking that anything would be coming from the other way. It is a proven fact that you are just as likely to be hit by a car coming at you than from behind you so going against traffic will not keep you any safer.
Cars coming towards you cannot see you as well as those going in the same direction as you are and they are approaching you quicker as well, leaving less time to be able to avoid hitting you. To avoid any accidents, you should go with traffic and if available, use bicycle lanes. Do not forget to look and signal before making a turn.
4. Be visible
Many accidents between vehicles and bicycles occur because the motorist was not even aware of the presence of the person riding the bike. If drivers see you, they are less likely to hit you. Therefore, you need to do everything you can to be seen. Making eye contact with motorists approaching you from the other direction or directly behind you will ensure that they see you and you can then make a safe turn. Wear bright and reflective clothing in the daytime to stand out and be better noticed through fog and after sundown when it may be harder to see.
If you are riding at night time, make sure that you have a light on your bicycle and at the very least a reflector on the back so drivers coming from both directions can see you and avoid coming into contact with you.