With beautiful summer weather nearly upon California, many people might think about switching to a bicycle for their commute. Still others might take to their bikes on a regular basis just for recreational purposes. But no matter why you hop onto the bike, you have to ensure safety when you head out. To that end, consider some of the safety tips provided by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. That way, you won’t contribute to the estimated 1.4 million injuries which occur every year across the country.
First, you should take the time to gain an understanding of your bicycle and the best position to ride in. If you feel uncomfortable when you sit down and place your hands on the handlebars, an adjustment might be in order. When you’re not comfortable, the risk of an accident tends to increase.
If you’re in the market for a new bike, visit a dealer and have an employee help you out. They should know what size fits your person and your riding style. And when you finally do take it out onto the road, start slow. Figure out the idiosyncrasies of your brakes and gear system so that you won’t be thrust from your bike due to a simple mistake.
Prepare yourself with the proper equipment before you head out on your trip. An ample supply of water is an absolute necessity, as is a helmet. Without the latter, you’ll be unable to protect yourself from potentially severe head trauma should you be involved in some sort of an accident. Your clothing should be loose but no so billowy that it could get caught in your pedals or spokes. Shoes are far preferable to sandals, which can cause your feet to slip from the pedals. Sunscreen should also be applied so that you can mitigate the risk of skin damage.
When you do start riding, eliminate distraction however you can. Many riders might want to listen to music, but this isn’t a great idea. When you’re not attuned to your environment, you miss out on subtle cues that signal an impending obstacle. By the same token, you’ll want to keep your phone out of sight while you travel. That not only means exercising restraint from phone calls but from texting as well. The danger this poses should be obvious to cyclists given the decreased attention and awkward position one has to be put in to text.
Finally, heed traffic law. You should be traveling in the same direction as other vehicles and making appropriate signals when you’re going to turn. Stick to the right, giving vehicles plenty of room to go around you if they want. And when you’re out at night, opt for bright, reflective clothing and a taillight plus reflectors.