Cycling is great for physical and mental wellbeing. It’s an efficient technique for losing weight, staying motivated, and feeling relaxed. The good thing about cycling is, it doesn’t matter if you are a cycling veteran or someone who hasn’t ridden a bicycle before. Once you get on the bike, it’s bound to be fun, invigorating, and easy. And it’s an activity that people across all ages can engage in together.
Yet, sadly, people have suffered fatal or serious injury when cycling. Of course, once you get on the cycling track, you have no control over what the other pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, and drivers will do around you. Cycling accidents may occur through no fault of your own. In that case, you’d have two years to file a personal injury case if it occurred in Texas.
Nevertheless, it’s important that you play your part in caring for your own safety and those around you when cycling. Here are a couple of tips that will help you do just that.
1. Wear a Helmet
Not every state in America requires that cyclists wear helmets. But, even if the law doesn’t compel you to wear one, the power of helmets in minimizing death or injury has been demonstrated in numerous studies.
You can lower your risk of serious injury by as much as 70 percent. It’s especially important because head injuries are the primary reason for bicycle accident fatality. The overwhelming majority of cyclists who experience severe head injury were not wearing helmets when the accident occurred.
2. Inspect Your Bicycle Before Each Ride
Bicycle accidents won’t always be caused by an unexpected obstacle on the road or a distracted driver. Sometimes, a defective or poorly maintained bicycle could break apart on the road, leading to a crash. You can reduce the chances of this happening by developing a habit of inspecting your bicycle, gear and helmet each time before you hit the road.
Make sure the tires are correctly inflated. Check that the lights and reflectors are working, and firmly in position. Examine the gears and chains for fractures, defects and other mechanical issues. These simple actions could save your life.
3. Wear a Reflective Vest
Limited visibility is a leading cause of bicycle accidents. If other road users, especially motor vehicles, cannot see you, then you are in danger of being hit. Whereas reflectors can help, drivers may fail to notice or have a sense of scale as they approach. A bicycle doesn’t have the size advantage as a car does, so a reflector should be deemed inadequate.
Wearing bright and reflective clothing increases your visibility and makes it easier for drivers to notice you from afar.
4. Hold On to the Handlebars
You may be an adrenaline junkie, have an exceptional sense of balance, or just love to push your limits. A bicycle gives you a chance to immerse yourself in all of these. But even if you want to try new tricks, do so in an environment that doesn’t jeopardize your safety. Do not ride hands-free when using a public road or in an environment where there are other vehicles or cyclists.
If you aren’t holding the handlebars, you won’t grab them on time when you run into an unexpected situation, such as a pothole on the road or a pedestrian stepping onto the path ahead of you. You may fall off the bicycle or dangerously veer into motorized traffic.
5. Use Hand Signals Generously
No road user can anticipate all the actions of other road users. Signals help each person communicate their next course of action to those around them. Unlike motor vehicles, the average bicycle isn’t fitted with light indicators. Hand signals serve this role for cyclists and should be deployed generously.
Many cycling accidents occur near or at intersections because drivers didn’t know what turn the cyclist ahead was about to take. Make sure your hand signals are clear and unambiguous. When everyone is on the same page, an accident is less likely to occur.
Cycling is something you should enjoy doing. Following these safety tips will go a long way in ensuring you do not become an unfortunate bicycle accident statistic.