Whether you love the rush of wind against your face as you soar downhill or the way your muscles feel powering you up a steep incline, you’re no doubt thrilled that it’s time to pull out your bike again. As you take to the streets this summer, be sure to follow these guidelines to stay safe on your bike:
Wear your safety gear! Rule number one: Always have on a helmet. Hopefully, nothing will happen while you’re out riding, but in the event of an accident, wearing a helmet will reduce your chance of a serious head injury by 50%. To get that benefit, however, you need to make sure it fits properly. Stop in to your local bike shop to double check the fit.
Watch drivers. Sometimes drivers aren’t as cautious as they could be, so it’s up to you to stay vigilant and keep an eye on the location of cars. Install a mirror on your bike so you can see what’s coming from behind. And, if you’re riding around a parked car, watch for quickly opening doors.
Ride like you’re driving. Follow the rules of the road so that other vehicle drivers know what to expect from you. Ride in the same direction as cars are driving. At stoplights, stop just as you would in a car.
Been drinking? Call for a ride. Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute reported that in 27% of bicycle fatalities, the cyclist had been legally drunk. A bicycle is still a vehicle, and you can make dangerous choices while peddling just as you can if you’re drunk behind the wheel of a car. So, call for a ride if you’ve had more to drink than is safe.
Be visible. The same organization reported that the most accidents occur between the hours of 6 – 9 pm, even in the summer season. If you do have to ride during dusk or dark, be sure to dress in light colors, add reflectors to your bike, and even consider a headlight or vest.
It’s a joy to get from one place to another under your own power, and summertime is the perfect season for dusting off your bicycle. Just be sure to take some precautions when you head out so that you and other drivers share the road responsibly. Let’s avoid as many Connecticut bicycle accidents as possible this year.