May is National Bike Month – a chance to celebrate bicycle riding and all it has to offer. Cycling is a great way to get exercise, travel sustainably and enjoy nature. National Bike Month also offers an opportunity to refresh your bicycle safety knowledge and learn more about how to prevent accidents. You can better protect yourself and others by following a few basic bicycle riding safety tips.
Check Your Bike Before You Ride
Inspect your bicycle before every ride. Examine the tire pressure, tire tread, stem tightness, saddle, handlebar grips, brakes and chain. Make sure the saddle is in the proper position for optimal comfort and control. Do not ride a bicycle that needs repairs. If your chain breaks, your brakes stop working or your tire pops in the middle of a ride, you could crash your bike or get launched over the handlebars. Even if a malfunction doesn’t injure you, it could leave you stranded somewhere with a bike you can’t ride.
Enhance Your Visibility
Bicyclists can be difficult to see, especially if they are wearing dark colors. Do your best to enhance visibility by wearing bright clothing, such as yellows and reds. If you can, wear a reflective vest, as well. Attach reflective strips to your bicycle to be more visible in the dark. Avoid riding at night as much as possible. If you must ride at night, attach a flashing light to your bicycle.
Follow the Rules
Bicyclists must obey all of the same rules and regulations of the road as motor vehicle drivers. Cyclists are not exempt from stopping at stop signs and red lights, nor are they always given the right-of-way. While you are cycling, obey all of the traffic laws and roadway rules that apply to you. This can prevent you from being in the same place at the same time as a motor vehicle. It will also keep your movements predictable and easy to follow for drivers, reducing the risk of a collision.
Never Ride Distracted
No matter how comfortable you are on a bicycle, you should always keep both hands on the handlebars and both eyes on the road in front of you. Do not ride your bike while texting, making a phone call, watching videos, eating, drinking or engaging in other activities. Cycling while distracted could make you miss things, such as a stop sign or crossing pedestrian. Stay focused, alert and aware of your surroundings. You should also never drink and ride.
Expect the Unexpected
Do not assume that the drivers around you will do what is expected or lawful. Instead, expect the opposite – that a driver will break the rules and put you in danger. This is known as riding defensively. It is a state of constant vigilance, where you frequently scan the road around you and stay on the lookout for potential hazards, such as a driver merging on top of you or turning in front of you. You should be prepared to take action to avoid a collision at all times.
Wear a Helmet
Whether or not the law in your state requires you to wear a helmet, do so for your own personal protection. A helmet can drastically reduce the risk of suffering a serious head or brain injury in a Kansas City bicycle accident. Even the safest and most experienced bicycle rider could get into an accident because of a negligent driver. Prepare for the worst by wearing an approved bicycle helmet that fits you correctly on every ride. If you do get injured in a bicycle accident in Kansas City, contact us to discuss your case and possible financial compensation with an attorney.