Commuting by bicycle is becoming more popular across the nation. While some people know exactly how to operate a bicycle safely, others don’t. Commuting means more than jumping on your bike and pedaling. It means that you’ve got to be hyper aware of the vehicles around you and practice prudent safety. If you are new to commuting or simply need a refresher, we’ve compiled a list of safety tips that should help you get where you are going in the same state you were in when you jumped on your bicycle.
1. Know the Danger Zone
Do you know what your biggest danger is while riding a bike? Car doors. It may be a bit surprising, but more cyclists are injured by running into suddenly opened car doors than anything else. When you are riding past vehicles, leave space enough between you and the line of cars so you won’t be struck if someone opens their door unexpectedly.
2. Turning Cars
Another common cause of injury is the turning vehicle. It’s not unusual for a vehicle to overtake a bicycle that is moving slower and then attempt to make a turn in front of the cyclist. Always look over your shoulders as you come to intersections, exit ramps, driveways and alleys.
3. Passing Pedestrians
If you have a need to pass a pedestrian, pass behind them. In other words, don’t cut them off. Use your words and let a pedestrian know that you are passing on the right or passing on the left. This will prevent any type of surprise on the part of the pedestrian’s part that has them jumping out of the way — directly into the path of your bike.
When you are on your bike, don’t make little gestures. Now is not the time to be shy. Be big and be bold. If you plan on turning, use every part of your body to indicate that. Look over your shoulder, stand up on your pedals, turn with your body and use a hand signal. Do not keep your hands and arms close to your body while you are making signals. They could easily be missed.
5. Ride the Lane
You may think that you are safer riding on the curb, but you are often more safe riding in the lane if you are on a city street. It is your right to do so, and you might as well take it. Staying to the side of a quiet road is fine. When you are on a busy street, riding in with the cars is often safer for a bike rider.
You don’t want to be in an accident while you are commuting by bike. Use the safety tips above to stay as safe as you can. If your efforts fail you and you are involved in a bicycle accident in San Luis Obispo, reach out to our office. We can help you determine fault and, if applicable, help you secure the compensation you deserve.