Cycling is a popular summertime activity. Whether you wish to bike to a park, on a trail or to work this summer, it is important to take steps to enhance your safety. Bicyclists are vulnerable road users, meaning they are at risk of serious and fatal injuries in bicycle accidents. Protect yourself as much as possible with these summer cycling safety tips.
Boost Your Visibility
Drivers can be negligent, or careless, and crash into a bicyclist if they are distracted or not paying enough attention. You can improve your safety by boosting your visibility to motor vehicle drivers. Wear bright colors and a reflective vest. Put reflective strips on your bike and avoid riding at night. If you must ride at night, use a headlamp and red rear light or reflector. Use a bell or horn to warn drivers of your presence.
While riding your bicycle, keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the handlebars. Do not try to multitask while biking in Kansas City, as this can increase your odds of getting into a collision with a motor vehicle driver. Avoid distractions such as cell phone use, texting, talking on the phone, listening to music or a podcast, wearing headphones, eating or drinking, and daydreaming.
Obey Traffic Laws
Bicyclists in Missouri have responsibilities. They must obey all traffic laws and roadway rules that apply to them. This includes following all traffic signs and signals, coming to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign, yielding the right-of-way to others, obeying speed limits, and riding in the same direction as traffic. Following traffic laws can keep you from crossing paths with a motor vehicle. It can also keep your movements more predictable to drivers.
Do Not Drink and Ride
Never operate a bicycle after drinking alcohol or taking any drug – including prescription medications – that could impair your riding abilities. While Missouri does not criminalize biking under the influence, cycling in an impaired state can significantly enhance your risk of getting into an accident.
Always Wear a Helmet
Missouri does not have a universal helmet requirement. However, many municipalities within the state have their own bike helmet laws. Even if you are not legally required to wear a helmet, you should do so for your own safety. A bicycle helmet can significantly reduce your risk of suffering a serious or fatal brain injury in an accident. Wearing a helmet could save your life.
Know Your Bicycle
Familiarize yourself with your bicycle before taking it on a public road in Kansas City. If you buy a new bicycle or rent one this summer, take time to learn its equipment and get used to how it rides in a safe and private place, such as an empty parking lot, before sharing the road with motor vehicles. Make sure the bike has all the required gear, including working brakes. It is important to feel comfortable, confident and in control of your bicycle at all times.
Know Your Body
Riding a bike in high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. While riding this summer, listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Carry water with you and stay well-hydrated. Take rest breaks in the shade as needed. Bring a cell phone and a first aid kit in case of emergencies. Check the weather before you head out on a long bike ride so you can prepare. If you start feeling confused, dizzy, nauseous, weak, irritable or have a headache, stop riding immediately and seek help. These are symptoms of heat stress.
If you get injured in a bicycle accident this summer in Missouri, don’t hesitate to contact the Kansas City bike accident lawyers at Dickerson Oxton, LLC for a free case consultation.