5 Tips for Staying Safe While Riding a Bike. : ThyBlackMan

Sunday, January 19, 2020

5 Tips for Staying Safe While Riding a Bike.

July 14, 2019 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Bikes have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Some people like to take them out for fun, others like to race on them, while others use them to get to work each day. Even though bikes have been replaced by faster forms of transportation, they still remain heavily used, especially in the cities. If you are someone who likes to ride their bike, it’s important that you keep yourself safe. Cyclists are especially prone to accidents, but with the tips below, you can make these accidents less likely to happen and reduce the injury risk.

Always Wear a Helmet

First of all, you always need to wear a helmet. As many adults get older, they often think that they no longer need to wear a helmet. They’re worried about messing up their hair or looking silly. But wearing a helmet is one of the best safety precautions you can take while riding a bike. A minor slip on a bicycle can lead to your head hitting the ground. If this were to happen, you’d want a helmet there to absorb the impact. Many lives have been saved from a simple bike helmet, so make sure you not only have one that fits well, but that you wear it whenever you’re on your bike.

Learn the Handle Signals

If you plan on riding your bike around cars, you need to learn how to communicate with them. Bicycles don’t have turn signals, so you need to use your arms to let drivers know what you intend to you. Luckily, there is a standard set of hand signals that you can learn that are all well recognized. Once you’ve mastered these signals, make sure you give any drivers around you plenty of notice that you plan to turn. This way, you don’t go swerving right in front of an oncoming car.

Watch Your Speed

The next important thing you can do is remain conscious of your speed. The faster you go, the more likely it is that you’ll end up in an accident, and the more dangerous it will be when you do. We all have places to get to, but it’s better to arrive there a few minutes late than to not arrive at all. The only exception is when you’re using your bike for a race. Of course, in this situation, you’ll need to go as fast as you can. But even in this situation you should slow down if you feel you’re losing control of the bike, or if you’re becoming a danger to those around you. Use your best judgement and remember that safety is your priority.

Don’t Always Go for the Brake

Next, a common mistake made by bicyclist is hitting the brake. This may sound counter-intuitive but hitting the brake could actually cause a bigger injury. For example, let’s say you’re riding your bike down a busy city street. As you’re about to go through an intersection, everything looks clear, but the suddenly a car comes out of nowhere. If you hit the brake, you’ll only end up stopping right in front of this car. Bicycles can’t stop fast enough, so you’re better off trying to speed ahead of the car and hoping that they hit the brake.

Not only that, but bicycles don’t come with seatbelts. If you stop the bikes momentum, yours will keep carrying forward. With no seatbelt to hold you back, your body can go flying over the handlebars, right into oncoming traffic. Knowing when to hit the brake, and when to speed up, is an important thing to learn if you’re going to ride your bike in a crowded area.

Make Yourself Noticeable

Finally, you should make sure you and your bike are noticeable. Wear bright colors and reflective tape, especially if you’re riding around at night. Cars can’t stop for you if they don’t see you, so the more noticeable you can make yourself, the better.

What to do if You’re Hurt

With the above tips, you should limit the chances of an injury or accident. However, they can still happen, especially in the Summer, as there are longer days and bicyclists are on the roads later in the day, often during the midst of rush hour. According to this car accident attorney in Oakland, The Barnes Firm, “Most bicycle accidents can be traced back to an inattentive driver. Bike riders should practice defensive driving by staying alert, being aware of surroundings, and avoiding inattentive drivers.”

If you find yourself in an accident, get the information of everyone involved, get yourself some medical attention, then contact a lawyer. Once you’ve gotten everything taken care of, go back over the accident and see if there’s anything you could have done to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Staff Writer; Brad Jones

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