Warmer weather means more opportunities to spend time outside, and riding bicycles is a great activity that allows families to get outdoors and exercise together. It’s recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and biking is a fun way for the whole family to stay active! It’s been shown that cycling regularly can improve cardiovascular fitness, increase muscle strength and flexibility, and improve joint health. Here are some bike safety tips to keep you and your family safe while cycling!
Wear the right safety gear.
Young and beginner bike riders might want to wear elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards, etc. while they are developing balance and coordination, and getting a hang of cycling. A helmet can save your life, and is important regardless of age or experience. Make sure the helmet fits properly as an ill-fitting helmet won’t provide the needed protection, and can even present more dangers. Loose helmets might require constant adjusting, or could fall over the rider’s eyes which increase the risk of an accident.
Wearing eye wear such as glasses, sunglasses, or goggles can provide protection from wind, debris, and insects.
Make sure that your bike has reflectors or reflective tape to help you stand out. It’s also a good idea to wear clothing with reflective accents or apply reflectors on helmets, clothing, vests, etc.
Wear bright colors to make yourself more visible to drivers.
Equip your bike with a front-mounted light and rear lights. A rear bike light is especially important as it allows you to be seen in the dark, and in dim light such as early morning and the evening. A light with a strobe, or blinking, mode can make you even more visible to drivers and other cyclists.
Bike maintenance is an underrated part of bicycle safety. Make sure that your tires are aired up and that everything is working properly before riding your bicycle. It’s especially important to check the brakes; however, a slipped chain or wobbly pedal can lead to an accident just as easily as defective brakes.
Also make sure that the bicycle is properly adjusted to fit the rider. This is especially true for growing children. The perfect fit from last year might come up a little short this year.
Things to Know About Bicycle Safety
Always use an audible signal to alert runners, joggers, and other cyclists when you are passing. A simple “On your left” is all that it takes to prevent an accident or injury.
Learn hand signals and use them. This will alert drivers and cyclists when you are stopping, or turning, and which direction you might be going.
Always look both ways before crossing the street, and wait for vehicles to stop, slow down, or signal to you, before crossing the road. It’s safest to dismount and walk your bicycle across the street.
Never assume that a driver will give you the right of way, or that a driver can see you. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what a driver should be doing if they aren’t doing it. You’re far more exposed on a bicycle than they are in their vehicle.
Stick to trails and roads with bike lanes, until you’re comfortable on roads. You might want to avoid roads altogether if you are riding with young children. Keep in mind that even if confident and experienced cyclists can get involved in accidents with vehicles. Bike trails are the safest place to ride a bicycle.
As long as you stay safe, cycling can be a great and healthy family activity!