Although you don’t need a license to ride a bicycle, bicycles and motorized vehicles often share the same roads. Like a car, it’s important to keep your bicycle tuned up and follow the rules of the road. Unlike a car, there is nothing between you and the pavement. So, follow these simple bicycle rules to stay safe and enjoy injury-free bike rides this summer.
Wear a bicycle helmet – no matter what your age. Adults and children alike suffer head injuries during bicycle crashes. Studies have proven that certified bicycle helmets, worn properly, save brains. So, be smart about riding, and wear a helmet!
Make sure your helmet fits properly. It should be snug and level on your head. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. Don’t wear a hat under your helmet. If you have questions about how to wear your helmet, ask someone at a bicycle store to help you.
Check your bike to make sure it’s ready to ride. Are your tires in good condition with the right amount of air pressure? Do your brakes work? Are your seat and handlebars adjusted properly? If you have quick release levers, are they tightened? Does your bike have reflectors? It’s a good idea to have your bike tuned-up by a professional at least once a year.
Dress to be seen and safe. Light or bright clothing is ideal for biking so you are visible to traffic. Anything that is loose or dangles can get caught in your chain or tires, and cause you to lose control of your bike. So, tuck those shoelaces in and avoid baggy clothing while cycling.
Cover your toes. Flip-flops, sandals, and high-healed shoes look great for summer, but won’t help you grip bike pedals, and may cause your feet to slip. Sneakers work best on bikes, and will protect your feet if you fall.
Obey the rules of the road. Stay on the right side of the street and obey traffic laws. Ride single file and straight – no quick darts or surprises. Always signal turns, and look all ways before turning. Remember to yield to pedestrians.
Be smart about biking. Keep your hands on your handlebars so you are in control of your bike. Never use headphones, earphones, or cell phones while biking. Give a call out before you pass so people know you are coming, and always pass on the left.
Drink before you're thirsty, eat before you're hungry. Take along plenty of water. Use sports drinks for longer rides. Snacks to take along include cereal bars, cookies, fig bars, and fruit (bananas, apples are best).
Items you should carry: Identification, money (for ice cream or other goodies along the ride), tools, spare inner tube, bicycle pump. There are many different bags that you can attach to your bike that could carry what you'll need for the day.
Plan a ride less than 10 miles when riding with small children, those who haven't bicycled very much or if the terrain is challenging. Plan stops along the route or have a destination in mind for the ride.
Be a defensive cyclist:
When cycling and wearing earbuds to listen to music, consider lowering the volume, so you are aware of your surroundings.