The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 857 bicyclists died in traffic crashes in 2018, and when you ride your bike, you are the one most likely to sustain serious injuries in a crash involving you and a vehicle. Although bike crashes with a car can be dangerous, riding your bike is still a great way to get around.
You also have the same legal rights and responsibilities on the road as those driving a car when you ride your bike. To protect your safety and ensure you follow the rules of the road, there are certain guidelines you should follow while preparing for a ride and while riding your bicycle.
- Prepare for every ride
The best way to prevent serious injuries in a bicycle accident is to put on your helmet before every ride. You should also only ride a bike that fits you, wear clothing that makes you more evident on the road and plan your route before you head out.
- Ride defensively
Always remain focused and alert when riding your bike in traffic. Try to anticipate what drivers may do before they do it, ride in the same direction as traffic and never assume other drivers can see you.
- Ride predictably
When you ride your bike predictably, drivers will gain a better sense of what you intend to do. Try to minimize sidewalk riding, always signal before making a turn and look over your shoulder for traffic behind you before changing positions.
- Work on your riding skills
Safely riding your bike in traffic requires practice and experience, much like driving a car. If you are a new rider, start by practicing turning, signaling and maneuvering your bike in an environment away from heavy traffic. You may also consider signing up for and taking a bike riding and safety class offered by your local recreation department or a nearby bike shop.