When I was small, and I did not have a bike, I used to imagine riding my friend’s bike. I was too shy to ask for his bike and took a few months to even ask for it from my parents. With a lot of hesitation, I asked my dad and voilà!! I got my first bike. Thankfully, my dad took no time in bringing one. And it was such great fun, me going on and on, riding and flying like a bird. Aah!!
I am so nostalgic while writing this article. I am sure you will agree with me that biking is just not a sport. It is a part of life and a medium of daily travel for most of us, an easy mode to exercise, relax, and enjoy, or a serious sport for some. This is the reason that sometimes we overlook the most important factor, and that is taking proper safety measures while cycling. In my childhood, there were not as many safety guards available, which are nowadays so common and easily obtainable. Today I will discuss some very important bicycle safety rules which you should not avoid.
Wear Helmet and Appropriate Clothes
The helmet is a must. Your head is the most significant part of your body. It carries your brain, the most vital functioning component of your body. You see, even nature has protected it with the skull. An accident without a helmet can be very fatal or cause brain trauma. Though wearing a helmet is not compulsory for adults, yes by law kids below 18 must wear helmets while driving.
If you are cycling in the evening or at night, proper colored clothing is the most important thing which you should think about first. Do not wear dark clothes unless you are trying to hide. So wear fluorescent clothes and avoid getting hit. It is very important to be very clearly visible at night or in foggy weather.
It is always advised to choose the fabric according to the weather. If it is very warm then wear synthetic clothes which are lightweight and also dries fast. There are tops available in the market which are breathable and aerodynamic. Avoid a very loose t-shirt that will flap around and will irritate you and hinder your speed.
When on long rides, wear liner underwear or shorts that can ease your journey. You can wear tight-fitting lowers like leggings that do not get stuck in the gears and pedals.
For winters do consider a jacket which is not too heavy as you will be soon warm after a while of cycling. Jackets also provide you extra space to keep your belongings like your wallet, mobile phone, etc. So you can choose as per your requirements.
Shades are worn by any two-wheel rider to protect himself from strong wind, sun, dust, or insects. So shield your eyes with light and wrap-around sunglasses.
The final piece of attire for your happy bike ride is a good pair of shoes. If your cycle has the basic platform pedal, then you can choose any of your favorite shoes, or you can spend on some cycle-specific shoes. The cycle-specific shoes have hard soles and give you more power in pedaling. And yes, don’t forget to tie your laces tight.
For Bicycle Safety Follow the Traffic Rules
Never forget that you are traveling with many others and the other vehicles are heavier than yours. If there are bike lanes, then please use them. Please remember that you are not driving a jet plane. Go slow or if you drive like hell you will be there. Drive on the right path and give way to others.
These days, mobiles are a major cause of accidents. Never use them while driving. The statistics say that most of the accidents occur due to car drivers using mobiles while driving. Hence, you better be a defensive driver, be focused, and be alert of such potential threats.
Just like mobiles, listening to music also is a big cause of accidents. See, we all enjoy listening to music, but if you really want to come home safe, then do not take your earplugs along. Always remember that cyclists are more vulnerable than other drivers of motor vehicles. According to the data in 2015 in the United States, over 1000 bicyclists died, which is very alarming. I do not want to scare you with these figures, but sometimes it’s better to know the facts beforehand and be attentive and aware.
Pick a Safe Route and Start Your Journey on Time
It is always better to know your route. Drive on those known trails which are safe. Trails that are far from your home can be visited by a companion or a group. If you have planned for a trip with a group, do start early so that you do not rush into joining them. A planned journey always has a happy ending.
Things to do before you start
I remember my brother, once in a week, used to spend the whole day cleaning and greasing his bike on his own. It was fun for him. I know that a passionate biker loves caring for their bikes. That is also the first step of bicycle safety rules. That is why, even if you are not a passionate driver, you should also take care of your bike regularly. Always check your bike before you jump on it. Check the brakes, tire pressure, rear mirrors, gears, and be sure everything is intact.
Bicycle Safety Tools
If you are keeping updated on all your bicycle safety tools, then yes, you are following bicycle safety rules.’ Remember that bicycle safety tools are not just for show off, but they ensure your safety. If you agree to this then I would first start by recommending buying four important accessories- A bicycle headlight, taillight, rear mirrors, and horns for your bike.
If you are a night driver then obviously first you need to see the road. Therefore, buy a good, long-lasting, and bright headlight that also has flash modes that can easily grab other driver’s attention. Here it is mentionable that you need to be careful of the intersections where the majority of accidents happen. Seeing the data, it is very shocking that cyclist fatalities are very common in the daytime as well. Hence, it is wise to spend extra money on a good headlight and a taillight.
A few years back, tail lights were not very popular and people had the choice of reflectors only. Yes, you can use reflectors, but the modern and advanced tail lights with brake light technology that anticipates when you are about to slow down or stop can be a better choice for your bicycle safety. These taillights are lightweight, sleek, rechargeable, and waterproof and effectively solve your purpose of being visible by all the pedestrians and motorists. Choose the right rear bike light based on its brightness, battery, and easy to mount quality. It should also not be too bright to blind the other drivers behind you.
A good rearview mirror can make your bike not only look stylish but save you from getting struck from behind. It helps you see the riders approaching you from your back, and take prompt action accordingly.
In the present day, with high traffic times, effective bike horns are a must-have for bicycle safety. You should be audible enough by the other motorists in case you are overtaking them. These days, there are horns available that come with attached highly illuminating light that makes you audible and visible both at a time.
Do not go overboard in buying these bicycle safety accessories in terms of cost. The shops are flooded with a variety of options in all price ranges. Choose wisely.
Other Bicycle Safety Tips
Whenever you are on long biking trails, do hydrate yourself properly in all kinds of weather. You will enjoy biking only when you are healthy in and out. Always keep your water bottle with you so that you do not end up buying and wasting money. Don't forget that cycling is a very good exercise, and it will be more effective if you are hydrated properly.
Do keep your mobile phone, a little cash, and your identity card with you. God forbid if something bad and unexpected happens, you can get help easily and your family is informed immediately.
Biking can be a lot of fun if you take all the above-mentioned precautions. Enjoy your rides with your family and kids to strengthen the bonding. Make it memorable and come home safe. Remember, you are special to your family, and you have to stay safe for them.