May is National Bike Month, and while the country encourages cyclists - novices and experts alike - to hit the trail, SABRE wants to bring safety into the conversation. Here are nine quick tips to follow and share with others to stay safe while cycling:
- Be visible
Wear bright clothes so that drivers can see you - anything neon is great during the daytime. It’s best to avoid biking at night, but if you do go for a ride after dark, be sure to wear reflective gear. When turning, be sure to signal to drivers and make eye contact when possible. Bike in a straight, predictable line so that you don’t take any drivers by surprise.
If you’re going for a long ride or it’s really hot out, you run the risk of dehydration. Drinks with sodium will help you retain water, so keep this in mind when you go for a ride longer than an hour or so or for a ride in extreme heat. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
- Check your bike
Before you head out, check your tire pressure and breaks to make sure everything’s in order. This way there’s less of a chance of some sort of malfunction that could jeopardize your safety.
- Bring a personal safety tool
It’s important to have a self-defense tool on hand in case you meet anyone that wants to do you harm. SABRE’s Cyclist Pepper Spray with Adjustable Bike Strap is a great option for adults, while the Personal Alarm with Key Ring can help children signal to others that there’s an emergency.
- Prevent theft
Invest in a high-quality U-lock, and secure your bike by the frame and wheel. Try to lock your bike in a well-lit, high-traffic area. Record your bike’s serial number and register it with your local police department, if possible, so that you can better recover it in the event of theft.
- Wear a helmet
Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85%. Find out how to fit your helmet.
- Control your bike
It’s important to keep at least one hand on your handlebars. Be sure to give this message to kids and teens, who might be experimenting with riding with no hands. Carrying any items with you on your ride? Put them in a backpack or bike carrier; don’t try to carry in your hands.
- Be on the lookout
You might have heard to ride as far to the right as possible, but keep in mind that people in parked cars can open their doors at any minute. Cyclists running into parked car doors is more common than you’d think, so drive a car door’s length from parked cars if possible. Also be on the lookout for moving cars, storm grates, potholes or anything else that might upset your balance.
- Know your place
Adults should ride in the street and follow the same rules vehicles abide by - this means signal when you turn, stop at lights and obey all other traffic laws. Always ride with, not against, traffic. Children under 10 should ride on the sidewalk.