BICYCLE SAFETY BASICS: DO’S AND DON’T’S

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Before biking, please consider the following do’s and don’t’s before hitting the road for optimal safety. You and your loved ones will be glad you did!

DO:

  • Wear a helmet properly, and other protective gear if you have them (i.e. knee pads, elbow pads, etc.). Studies have shown that using a helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85%. For best results, pick a helmet that has a snug but comfortable fit. The helmet you purchase should be designed and manufactured to meet or exceed the CPSC bicycle helmet standards.
  • Make sure your bike’s seat is adjusted properly so that it fits your body. With a foot on the pedal, the fully extended leg should have a slight bend.
  • Check to make sure all parts of the bike are working well before heading out.
    • Wheels should be straight and secure
    • Handlebars should be firmly in place and turn easily
    • If you find at any time that you are not able to stop quickly, your brakes may need to be adjusted by an experienced technician
  • Ride with traffic and keep to the right of the road.
  • Come to a full stop and look both ways at intersections and stop signs to make sure that the sidewalks are clear before proceeding.
  • Use proper hand signals for turning or stopping, especially in high traffic areas.
  • Use proper headlights and tail lights or reflectors when riding at night. In fact, when riding after dark, you should have a front lamp that gives a white light visible for at least 500 feet, along with a front white reflector. A rear red reflector/tail light should be visible for at least 300 feet.
  • If riding at night, avoid wearing black because it is a lot harder for someone to spot you. Instead, wear white or reflective colors so people can easily see you. Ideally, you will want to wear clothing that is comfortable but form-fitting to avoid it snagging or getting caught somehow on the bike and causing a hazard.
  • Walk your bike across busy streets at corners or crosswalks instead of riding because it can be risky.
  • Obey all traffic regulations, and when in doubt, stay clear and away from road/yield to drivers and other pedestrians.
  • Be sure that items in your bag are secure.
  • Be patient. Let all pedestrians, cars, and trucks go first to be safe. Remember that pedestrians always have the right of way.
  • Ride in single file if biking with others.
  • Watch for parked cars turning into traffic or car doors opening suddenly.
  • Be wary of sewer gratings, loose gravel, broken glass, nails, and potholes as this will either cause flat tires or cause you to lose control.
  • Listen to your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones and listening to music, keep one ear open to hear of any honking or emergency sounds so you can act responsibly in such situations.
  • Be focused and alert. See and be seen at all times.
  • Be predictable. Ride with care and share the road.
  • Look over your shoulder and signal before changing lanes.
  • Use bells to alert pedestrians and other bikers that you are approaching or passing.
  • Make eye-contact with and be considerate to other motorists.

DON’T:

  • Tailgate or ride too closely to other vehicles.
  • Show off. Instead, keep your hands on the handle bars. No showing off is worth an accident and getting injured!
  • Race, zig zag, or stunt in traffic. Save that for contained areas if you must.
  • Carry passengers or your pets. Single bikes are meant to only be ridden by one and not to hold others.
  • Carry luggages without a basket. The last thing you want happening is your belongings falling off somehow and causing an unnecessary accident.
  • Ride against traffic.
  • Hitch rides on cars or trucks.
  • Ride in the rain if you don’t have to. While it may be fun to go through the puddles, the water can make your bike brakes work improperly and thus cause hazardous accidents.
  • Blast your music if listening on headphones. In fact, avoid wearing them at all.

If you are tired of biking and need car insurance call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.

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