Riding a bicycle is great exercise, but before you hit the road remember the following safety tips:
- Inspect your bike before starting. Make sure your bike is functioning properly. It’s important to check that all parts are in working order, that the tire pressure is normal, and that the chain, brakes and lights all work properly.
- Use your head. Wear a helmet. Follow this simple rule and you can reduce your risk of serious injury by as much as 85 percent. Choose a helmet that meets the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Or, look for a sticker from the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American Society of Testing and Materials.
- Keep your eyes on the road. Resist the urge to put your head down when you’re going hard or getting tired. You need to see what is coming up so you have time to react and maneuver. Keeping your head down also slows your oxygen intake, tiring you out faster.
- Ride with traffic. Never ride against traffic, obey all street signs and give the right of way to cars, pedestrians and other cyclists. Use hand signals to alert drivers of your intentions. Utilize marked bike lanes when they’re available. Find a Kentucky Bicycle Routes Near You!
- Listen up. Don’t wear headphones. They can block out street sounds that would otherwise alert you to impending danger. Stay off your cell phone, too.
- Be bright in low-light. Avoid riding at night if possible. Most cycling deaths occur between 4 p.m. and midnight. If you expect to cycle in low-light conditions or at night, wear fluorescent or reflective gear. Equip your bike with a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as with front and rear reflectors.
- Put the pedal down. To corner safely, stop pedaling as you approach a turn. Put your outside pedal down (that’s the right pedal if you’re turning left). This assures that your inside pedal is up and out of harm’s way. It also lowers your center of gravity so you can take a turn safely.