Tips on Bike Safety

Tips on Bike Safety
Either ripping down single track or dodging cars, once you start moving, you rely on your bike, equipment and experience to keep you moving, get you around the next turn and back home safely. A few precautions early save a lot of time or pain later.

Maintain Equipment

A little service to your bike goes a long way toward making your trip fun rather than a tragedy. Make sure your brakes are functioning and check for loose wheels, forks and handlebars. Take the time to check your bike before and after your ride. Look at the tires, chain, forks, seat and bars before you start.

Safety Equipment

Nobody likes to wear a helmet until they need it. Trees, cars, telephone poles, wildlife and other cyclists are all hazards that can cause head injury. Statistics show that 60 percent of cycling fatalities come from head injuries. Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute statistics show that 45 to 88 percent of head injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet. You may also need gloves, glasses and knee or elbow pads.

Be Seen

Although dark colors are cool, they are dangerous when it comes to being seen. The worst times of day for being seen are dusk and dawn when the sun is in the eyes of motorists. Nighttime riding should include reflective or light-colored clothing. Daytime riding should include bright colors.

Be Aware

Bicyclists need to be more aware of what cars are doing than the people driving the cars are of bicyclists. Be careful while approaching intersections and parking lots or riding on a road with a narrow shoulder. When riding off-road, be aware of other riders, wildlife and obstacles in the trail.

Know Your Limits

Before starting on that 50-mile ride, know that you are able to go the distance and be prepared for it. Take water, food and emergency supplies. Also, work your way up to the distance you plan to ride. If you have been off your bike all winter, do not be surprised when you cannot ride as far as you did last fall. A good training program helps increase distance without causing injury or stranding you miles from home. Also, if you are not experienced, riding downhill single-track trails at 40 miles per hour is asking for trouble.

Article Written By Scott Whitney

Currently living in Southern Arizona, Scott Whitney is a certified English teacher and serves in the Army. He has written for the U.S. Government for 12 years. Whitney has an A.A. degree in history from Ricks College and a B.A. in family and community history from Brigham Young University.

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