Bike Commuting: Staying Safe on the Road
While on the road, it’s important to stay safe. Yes, cycling can be dangerous but so can just about everything else. (I somehow managed to wind up in the hospital when my hand was mauled by a drum kit. Life’s just crazy like that.) Fortunately, by knowing how to ride safe you decrease your chances of getting injured. As a courier friend once quipped “Blood doesn’t go with my outfit.”
Helmets are good. So are lights and reflectors and being just about as conspicuous as possible. I’m too cheap to shell out for a bike jersey, but my almost painfully bright yellow “I <3 Techno” shirt fills in nicely and my rear light is so bright I’m a little concerned it’ll burn my retinas. By their powers combined, I’m pretty darn visible. Just in case, mirrors also help you know where cars are around you.
Take a course
As Regan noted, you can check out the availability of a bike safety training course around you. Or, join a training ride through your LBS. Mine offers a ride every Tuesday to get people on the road and comfortable riding. Check your LBS for details.
If you have a bike bell–and you should–use it. Let people (and critters) know where you are.
If it weren’t for the whole being female/lesbian thing, I’d be the best damn Boy Scout in the area (I tried though). Being prepared means you’re ready to deal with anything that can potentially go wrong while riding, including flat tires and inclement weather. Also, make sure your bike fits you and is well tuned.
Remember Right Angles
If you’re crossing railroad tracks or any sort of elevation change in the road, do so at a right angle. This goes for “snakes”, those long cracks that can appear in the road, as well.
Use common sense. Follow traffic laws. Don’t hang out in cars blindspots. More than anything else, being smart will keep you safe.
That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s episode on keeping clean.
Photo Credit: Bike Safety Tips