Longtime cyclists sometimes need reminders about basic biking safety (who doesn't), and novices need a good example. Refresh your recollection of the most essential cycling safety tips so you can keep your bike, and not your body, rolling along the trail or road!
Before You Ride
Inspect your bike to make sure everything is in order. Check tire pressure and brake function, and make sure your saddle and handlebars are properly positioned and haven’t slipped. You’ll also want to check the drive train and make sure the chain is working properly.
Think about what you’re wearing—are you properly dressed for the weather and for the time of day? An essential cycling safety tip is to make sure you can be seen. Reflective clothing and front and rear bike lights are critical if you’ll be riding in the dark. Bright clothes are always important because different light and weather conditions can affect motorists’ ability to see you on the road.
Also, make sure your phone is fully charged (we've all been there on a near empty battery) and that someone at home knows your planned route and expected arrival time.
Wear a Helmet
Wear a helmet approved for cycling safety—check the fit before you start. While a helmet can’t guarantee you won’t get hurt in a crash, helmets can significantly reduce the severity of injuries, including brain injuries.
Ride with the Traffic Flow and Stay Alert
In most places, bikes are considered vehicles, and they are subject to the same rules of the road as automobiles. Obey all traffic signals and use the hand and arm signals if you’re going to make a turn. However, most drivers on the roads never learned or have forgotten the old-style signals, so just point to where you’re going and yield if you must to stay safe.
Ride a bike with the same level of alertness you use when you drive a car. Know what’s ahead of you and on either side. If you ride in traffic, your bike or helmet should be equipped with rearview mirrors. Remember that someone could emerge from a parked car at any moment, so use extra caution when passing a row of cars on the side of your lane. Look ahead, not down, so you can anticipate obstacles. Be especially wary at intersections, which is where most bike accidents happen.
Keep a Safety Kit in Your Bike Pack
At a minimum, bring a patch kit, an extra tube if your tires use them, a multi-purpose tool, and a mini pump or CO2 inflator. Additionally, don’t forget your ID, your phone, a little cash, and some sunscreen. Don't forget your hydration and for longer rides, nutrition!
Most essential cycling safety tips are a combination of common sense and rider experience. Our online bicycle shop carries gear to carry safety equipment as well as tools for caring for your bike to keep it in safe operating condition.