Riding the road is great fun, fine exercise and a wonderful way to avoid the hassles of driving and parking. But, there are dangers out there and important rules to follow to be safe.
Here are some key pointers to help you tame those mean streets and enjoy your city cycling.
IMPORTANT ROAD RULES
Ride on the right
Many people were taught (incorrectly) to ride bikes on the left, facing traffic. But if you ride against traffic, drivers entering the road won't see you (because they don't expect traffic in that direction), and you may get run over. In fact, wrong-way cycling causes more serious bicycle accidents than anything else! Bicycling on the left is dangerous, and it’s against the law. Always ride with traffic.
Obey signs and signals
They exist to help move traffic efficiently and safely and by law, bicyclists must obey them, too. Not doing so is dangerous.
Always use hand signals to get drivers to yield so you can turn safely. When making a left turn, signal, look and move to the centerline. When it's clear to cross, move through the intersection to the right side of the road you’re entering. Keep in mind that it's legal (and sometimes safer) to walk your bike through busy intersections. Also, if traffic is too heavy and fast to make a conventional left, try this trick: Ride through the intersection and stop at the far side of the road you want to turn onto. When the light turns green, you're good to go!
Wear a helmet
It prevents head injury and helps people see you. Plus, helmets are warm in the winter and cool in the summer because they shield the sun and insulate the head. Many of our helmets sport visors and all of them have excellent ventilation. Global Bikes can help you select a comfortable model and also fit it to your head properly.
Wear appropriate clothing
Wear bright colors during the day and light and/or reflective clothing at night. Sixty percent of all bicycle deaths occur at night, when only four percent of bicyclists are riding. So being seen is obviously worth the effort.
Equip your bike
Use a headlight that's bright enough for you to be seen and for you to see the road ahead. And, make sure you have a taillight, too. Global Bikes offer many lighting systems in a variety of price ranges and Global Bikes is happy to recommend one that's right for you.
Be a responsible traffic participant
Your bike is one of many vehicles sharing the road. To remain safe, you must anticipate the actions of others, share the road, extend common courtesy and obey the laws and signals that apply to all road users. Riding with the traffic and being predictable are two of the most important things you can do.
Look and listen; ride safely
When passing through intersection, be especially alert. Drivers often misjudge a bicyclist's speed and pull in to park or change lanes not realizing that you're right there. Likewise, when you're passing parked cars, make sure you don't get "doored" by a person swinging open the car door. Expect the unexpected, keep your speed down and ride with great care in busy situations.
Make eye contact
When approaching vehicles that want to turn in front of you, try to make eye contact so they know that you’re there. A slight head movement or wave will also catch their attention. Never assume that they've seen you!
Consider alternate routes
One of the easiest ways to enjoy safe street riding is by planning routes that follow lightly traveled roads. In every city there are alternative routes, and with a little planning, you can always find a fun and often scenic detour around traffic-choked arteries. If you need help planning rides, just ask us! Also, if it's possible for you to pedal during non-peak hours, you'll find the roads much less busy.
For more information on street riding visit the League of American Bicyclists website.