Whilst the number of people dying from cycling has been on the decline now for over a decade, the number of bike accidents happening is actually on the increase – this may be in part down to the fact that there are now more cyclists than ever in the United States of America. For an insight into the common causes of bike accidents in the country, follow the link.
However, there are a number of things that you can do in order to protect yourself whilst going for a bicycle ride, including the following…
- Wearing a helmet – depending on which state you are cycling in, there may or may not be a requirement to wear a helmet whilst cycling. Even where you do not legally have to wear one, you should do it in order to keep yourself safe should you have an accident and fall off of your bike. This is especially important given the fact that injuries to the head are the top cause of deadly bike accidents.
- Riding like you are driving a car – by acting more like a car on the roads, you are greatly reducing your chances of being involved in an accident whilst cycling on your bike. This is because, unlike cyclists, cars do not weave their way in and out of traffic and do dangerous things such as not obeying traffic signals. Acting responsibly whilst cycling is important given the fact that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers.
- Not riding on the sidewalk – although it may seem like a safer option to ride on the sidewalk rather than a busy road, they can actually be very dangerous places to cycle. This is because they are the realm of the pedestrian and on sidewalks, they are free to act however they want (there are no rules for them to follow) and so it is easy to have a collision with one. In addition to this, there is also the uneven surface to deal with on the sidewalk also – they are not as even as a tarmacked road.
- Stick to bike lanes – more and more cities and urban areas are creating dedicated spaces and lanes for cyclists to use in order to separate them from regular road traffic and thus keep them safe whilst riding. Where there is one available on the route that you are heading, always use it rather than cycling on the road or on the sidewalk.
- Wear appropriate clothing – whilst out on your bike you want to make sure that you are visible to all other road users. A great way of doing this is by wearing either reflective clothing or brightly colored clothing, or even a combination of the two. In addition to this, you want to make sure that you wear clothing that is comfortable for the weather conditions that you are riding in – you want all your attention focused on the road whilst cycling and not on the fact that you are too cold or too hot.