Top Bike Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe While Bike Riding
Posted Jul 28 2011 2:55pm
Hi guys! I hope that you are having a wonderful Thursday. After getting a few things done this morning, I had my usual moment of contemplation: What sweaty activity do I want to do today?
I didn’t really feel like running, however, I did want to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. Then it hit me: what better way to enjoy the sunshine than on my bike!
So I quickly gathered my bike gear and set out along the harbor to Plum Island.
As you can see from the map, most of Plum Island is actually a nature reserve. It’s supposed to be beautiful, however the dreaded Green Head flies are all over the place and I’ve been told that they actually bite chunks of flesh off of you. (eeek!) Therefore, I’ve decided to wait to bike through that area until they’re gone for the year!
I biked up and down the two main roads on the east and west sides of the Island while enjoying the relatively quiet streets and admiring the beautiful houses.
The ocean is over yonder!
Plum Island’s beautiful beaches make it attractive to vacationers so there are less year round residents than in Newburyport proper. I really appreciate that area isn’t touristy and most of the houses are modestly sized.
After biking around Plum Island, I headed back the mainland and biked west along the harbor, continued through downtown Newburyport and beyond before heading back home. All in all, a great 18 mile ride!
My Top Bike Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe While Bike Riding
While on my solo bike ride, I thought about how just a few weeks ago I had been nervous about doing any bike riding at all . I know that my anxiety is lessened by the simple act of getting back on my bike. Additionally, the way I ride my bike and the essential bike gear I take with me gives me confidence that I am doing everything I can to have a safe and enjoyable ride.
Since I have bike safety on the brain, I thought I might as well share my top bike riding and bike safety tips with you!
Bike Safety Tip #1 Bring the Essential Gear
When I go riding I always have a bunch of essential gear in my bike bag so that I’m prepared for any situation that might arise.
License and health insurance card
~$10 in cash (enough to buy extra water and snacks or lunch)
2 filled water bottles
A couple easily digestible snacks (dates, bar, banana, PB and Jelly, etc)
A new inner tube, bike tire changing tools, and a mini bike pump
Small First Aid Kit (I need to find mine!)
When I have all of my gear, I know that I’ll be properly nourished, hydrated, safe, and prepared even if I get a flat tire at my turn around point.
Bike Safety Tip #2: Ride defensively
While riding through downtown Newburyport this morning a car decided to cut me off despite the fact that I had right of way. Fortunately, I was paying attention and riding slowly enough to stop my bike in time. In order to stay safe on your bike, ride defensively, be aware of your surroundings, and wear bright and/or reflective gear.
Bike Safety Tip #3: ALWAYS wear a bike helmet
I have countless friends and family members who crashed while bike riding and were either been saved by wearing a bike helmet or seriously injured because he or she neglected to wear one. Whether you’re riding 1 mile or 100, ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET!
Bike Safety Tip #4: Follow the ‘Rules of the Road’ and use bike hand signals
I must have gotten my cautious bike riding habits from my mom because my late dad was a bit of a scoff law when it came to following the ‘Rules of the Road.’ He would zoom through stop signs and saw yellow traffic lights as a personal challenge. Don’t do this! If you’re biking on the road, follow all of the Rules of the Road including stopping at stop signs, yielding, merging, and using bike lanes when available.
Unless you feel uncomfortable lifting your left hand off of your handlebars, use hand signals to notify drivers, pedestrians, and other bikers of turns and stops. (Left arm out straight = left turn and left arm up at a 90 degree angle = right turn.) I also signal to cars when I need to get back onto the road by pointing where I am going to ride.