Bike Safety Tips in the City

Biking in the City?

The popularity of biking on the road has surged across the U.S. However, the rules are not always clear between drivers, cyclists, and even pedestrians because each concerned party may not know how to respond to the other. In 2014 alone, there were 726 deaths due to bicycle crashes. Today, many towns and cities have responded by creating dedicated bike lanes to reduce the risk of accidents. Regulations have also been implemented to keep everyone on the road protected.

If you are currently an active cyclist or thinking about making it a part of your lifestyle, there are several key bicycle safety tips in cities to stay safe:

  • Wear a helmet to protect your head during falls.
  • Stay visible by using lights when biking at night or in low-light conditions. If drivers can see you, they are less likely to hit you.
  • Like vehicle drivers, you should look, signal, and then look again. Use hand signals and make eye contact with drivers and other bicyclists to let them know where you are going.
  • Stay alert. Cars, bikes, and people are not the only dangers on the road. Look out for obstacles in your path.
  • Always bike in the direction of traffic.
  • Do not weave in and out of traffic. Just like driving a car follow standard driving patterns. The more predictable you are, the lower your chance of being involved in an accident is.
  • Listening to music, texting, or talking on your phone can increase the possibility of an accident. Avoid distracted driving.
  • Each city has its own set of rules and regulations for traffic laws and lights. Be aware of and abide by these rules.
  • Before leaving for your destination, make sure your seat is comfortable and your bike is working properly. This will help you avoid accidents due to your equipment not working properly, dangerous falls, and reduce the risk of distraction.

You should also be aware of a few common bicycle-related collision types and learn how to avoid them.

The most common way to get hit is when a car is pulling out of a side street, parking lot, or driveway on the right. You may either be in front of the car, or the car may pull out in front of you causing you to slam into it. Avoid this type of collision by getting a headlight, waving to attract the attention of the driver, slowing down, or riding further left so the driver can see you.

Another typical bike accident involves red lights. If you stop to the right of a car at a red light or stop sign, there’s a good chance they cannot see you. When the light turns green and you move forward, they may be turning right – directly into you. To avoid this collision, do not stop in a car’s blind spot. Instead, stop behind a car because it makes you visible to traffic on all sides.

When biking in the city, remain alert and follow traffic signs.