Cycling is a great way to get some exercise, explore new places, have adventures, or simply to have some fun outside. Zooming through roads and trails is exhilarating and an incredible experience. However, it can be quite dangerous if you are not taking the proper safety measures. It’s essential to be as safe as possible while cycling or else a mistake could result in serious injury. Check out these tips for a safe ride while cycling:
Wear a Helmet
The number one rule everyone needs to follow at all times is wearing a helmet. A head injury, especially when speeding down a road or trail, could be catastrophic or even fatal. According to studies, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a serious injury by 70%. Simply put, wearing a helmet can ultimately save your life in a biking accident.
Even though you’re paying attention to the road, others may not be. This is really important to repeatedly teach your children. As parents know, their children can often get a false sense of confidence in their abilities when they still have a lot to learn. Reminding them that it is the other people to watch out for is a way of taking the ego out of saying to your children “be safe”, or rather “beware of other people on the roads and paths”.
Whether you’re cycling during day or night, it makes a big difference if you can wear bright or reflective clothing or materials to ensure drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists can see you. Many cyclists nowadays actually have their rear flashing light on during the day too, just to do all they can to be visible.
Know How to Use Signals
Unlike in cars, when you’re on a bike you don’t have a loud horn, turn signals, or brake lights. At most, you will have a bell to alert others. This is why it’s imperative to know your bike hand signals and how to use them. This allows you to communicate with drivers and other cyclists around you. By making your hand signals clear to others, you provide them with fair warning of what your intentions are (eg: turning left or right), and an accident is less likely to happen.
Riding With Young Children
When riding with your kids, if there is only one adult either ride behind the last child or on the “dangerous side” next to the last child (eg: if on a cycle-lane on the road, then ride between them and the cars). If you have two adults have one at the front (or next to the front child) and one at the back.
As an adult riding with kids you are constantly hypervigilant for cars coming out of driveways, car doors opening, random pedestrians, street corners, how to cross the roads etc… Where possible talk to them about what you are looking for, so that bit by bit they can become more actively engaged in their own safety. Where possible, involve your kids in these safety checks (obviously having already done them yourself).
Remember that kids can often get distracted when they see a playground or a lunch destination approaching, so it’s worth being more careful at these points so that they don’t hone in on their “target” and forget the dangers between them and the destination.
When it comes to crossing roads, use your parental discernment. There is no harm in walking the bikes across the roads if the roads are busy. Kids are irreplaceable assets, so safety always comes first before getting to your destination in a timely manner.