Cycling has always been a popular form of activity for several reasons. First of all, it’s very easy to maintain social distance from others when you’re on a bike. Second, it’s a great way to move from one place to another without having to take public transport or your car. And third – it helps you stay in shape and lose weight in a healthy way. It’s no wonder so many people took up cycling and now declare themselves to be avid cyclists. However, cycling is not all fun and games, and there are many safety issues cyclists face. Here’s how to stay safe when you’re cycling on a busy road.
Inform people of your intentions
ust because you might be able to see other cyclists and pedestrians clearly, it doesn’t mean they can see you just as well. Before you make a turn, you should check the road behind you and then signal that you will make a turn. It’s important that you give plenty of notice before making your maneuver; otherwise, you will be at risk. Make your turns only when you’re 100% sure that it’s safe, and keep the position in the lane that will stop any vehicles from undertaking you too closely. This is handy, but it makes some cyclists nervous because they aren’t comfortable turning around and letting go of their wheel to signal the turn. If this is something that’s bothering you, try practicing in a safe, traffic-free environment.
Have working lights
If you’re hoping to avoid accidents, it’s best if you alert other road users that you’re there. You can do this easily by using sounds and/or easy-to-spot clothes. A bell on your bike is a great tool to make your presence known as well as to alert others to give you space if you’re in a hurry. Think of a bell as of a car horn, only gentler. Working lights on your bike are also a great way to make others notice you, especially if you’re cycling during darker hours of the day. In fall and winter, it gets dark much earlier, so if you’re cycling to or from work, lights are a must. Some countries, such as the UK even have strict laws that clearly state that you must have working lights on your bike if you’re cycling anytime between sunset and sunrise.
Wear brightly-colored clothes
Of course, we don’t mean you should dress like a clown anytime you hop on your bike, but brightly colored clothes while cycling are a great way to stand out on the road. Luckily, there’s lots of cycling gear that fits the description – high-visibility cycling jackets, for example, are particularly popular all over the world. Of course, if you don’t own such a jacket, you can always wear reflective vests and clothes with light-reflecting details. Such details will make drivers notice you even if it’s pitch black outside. This is especially important if the road you’re taking isn’t well-lit.
On another note, if you’re planning on taking longer routes and cycling on a regular basis, you might want to invest in a pair of padded shorts. These are not only comfortable and allow you to move freely, but the padding will protect your behind, which is something you will be grateful for after a long ride.
Get the right gear
We already mentioned that brightly-colored clothes could literally save your life when you’re cycling. Still, you shouldn’t ignore the rest of your gear in favor of pretty clothing items. When you find the best road bikes for your cycling adventures, it’s important to pair them with the right cycling gear. A helmet is a must whether you’re on your way to work or you’re on an off-road adventure, and not just any helmet, but a proper-fitting one. If your helmet isn’t sitting on your head the right way (if you feel it’s too far back and reveals your entire forehead), it won’t do you much good if you find yourself in a situation where you need it. Sun visors are also a good idea to have, and there are even some that can be built into the helmet so your eyes won’t strain so much in bright sunlight.
Maintain a good position
One of the best things about cycling is that it protects the environment while also helping you stay fit and in shape. However, the way you’re cycling also matters a lot, especially if you stick too close to the edge of the road. Many cyclists do this in order to give car drivers more space and avoid any accidents, but it’s not the best move. When you’re not too close to the curb, drivers see you much better. Not only that, but you will also avoid potholes and slippery drain covers if you’re cycling in rainy weather. In the end, if a driver does end up too close to you, you will always have more space to move away from them if you’re not already too close to the curb.
Keep your eyes wide open
Cycling for pleasure is a lovely thing, but it can backfire quite quickly if you get too relaxed on the road. You have to stay alert and mindful of your surrounding no matter how lovely the scenery is or how good a song you’re listening to. You have to keep your eyes on the road and look for and problems on the road, such as rough surfaces, potholes, road humps, puddles, and drain covers. Not to mention that it’s very easy to overlook any cars parked on the road if you’re not careful. Being alert and keeping a keen eye on the road will also give you plenty of time to prepare for traffic light changes, crossroads, and roundabouts. An alert and focused cyclist will rarely have to swerve or brake abruptly because they will likely anticipate such problems in advance.
Once you start seeing bicycles as your main form of transport and fitness, getting “hooked” on the cyclist lifestyle is easy. Pretty soon, you’ll be exploring roads, planning trips, and buying gear to make sure your cycling adventure is unforgettable. Regardless of how experienced and enthusiastic you are, you must stay safe on the road. Always wear protective gear, stay alert, and be cautious even when the roads are seemingly deserted. These tips might even help save your life.