3 Must Follow Safety Rules for Biking

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 900 cyclists were killed in 2013 in the United States. In the same year, an estimated 494,000 emergency visits were due to injuries involving cyclists.


Safety Rules for Biking

There are dozens of recommended safety rules to remember. Here are few of the most important that can actually save your life.

Also Read: Biking safety rules for rookies

Safety Rules For Biking

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Wear Your Safety Gear

Your first step is to ensure that you’re properly attired for the riding conditions. You have to assess the environment where you plan to ride your bike, such as the weather and road conditions.

You should be attired in your summer riding gear during warm days and winter riding ensemble in cold days, for example. You gear should include all of the following for safety reasons:

  • Helmet for head protection. Look for a snug and secure fit.
  • Riding clothes for comfort, convenience and protection for your body. Check for a snug yet comfortable fit, too, as well as suitability to the weather conditions.
  • Gloves for hand and wrist protection. Look for padded gloves in winter for protection against the cold temperature and reduced risk from compression stress.
  • Shin and knee armor for a certain level of protection for your joints during crashes and collisions.

You should also wear the right shoes and sunglasses, not so much for protection against collisions but for better visual acuity and pedaling performance. Both of these aspects will contribute to reduced risks for accidents.


Perform a Safety Check on Your Bike

Your next step is to check that your bike is up to par. You shouldn’t ride in it without checking that every nut and bolt is in place from the handlebars to the wheels. Otherwise, you will not only be a danger to yourself, you will also be a danger to others.

  • Check the wheels, brakes and hub.
  • Check the tires and suspension.
  • Check the fork for damage like hairline cracks, suspension fluid leaking near the bolts, and scratches in the stanchions.

You should check the cockpit, stem, and cranks and pedals, too. You have to consider using other safety measures, such as mirrors, active lights, and reflective materials on your bike.

Your safety checks should be done every time you want to take your bike for a ride – or at least, when you’re planning a longer ride.


Know the Safety Rules and Apply Them at All Times

But even with the above mentioned safety tips, your best defense against the risks of cycling is your brain. You, the rider, have the responsibility to know and apply these safety riding rules.

  • Be aware of the traffic laws in the area and follow them. Keep in mind that each jurisdiction has its own traffic laws so it makes sense to do a basic research. Basically, stick to the right side of the street, avoid running stop signs, and ride either single file or double file as the situation demands.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic, as a general rule. You will find that’s either unsafe or illegal to ride toward oncoming traffic. You should also ride as close to the right of the road as possible, unless the risks for hitting the curb become unacceptable.
  • Join in the traffic. You may be safer by jumping in and riding with the traffic in case your riding speed is similar to the vehicular traffic. Just make sure that you always pass on the left and never on the right since the latter is always a dangerous move, especially in intersections.
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    Make eye contact with the drivers and riders so that you’re actually seen. You must ride in a position where you can be seen by others while also being able to see them.
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    Be consistent and predictable in your riding style. Sudden brakes and accelerations, especially in crowded areas or when riding in a group, can increase the risks for accidents. Avoid veering into crosswalks and making sudden reappearances on the road.
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    Always practice defensive driving by being aware of your surroundings. You have to watch out for your front and be aware of what’s behind your back – side mirrors come in handy here.
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    You must always be on the lookout for potential road hazards, such as railroad tracks, sand and gravel, and parked cars.
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    Use words to call out your next move or road hazards, as well as signals, lights and horns to alert others about your presence.

You should check the cockpit, stem, and cranks and pedals, too. You have to consider using other safety measures, such as mirrors, active lights, and reflective materials on your bike.

Why Should You Follow These Rules?

Society as a whole is affected by these bike-related accidents. In 2010, for example, the costs related to lifetime medical care and productivity losses from non-fatal crash-related injuries amounted to $10 billion.

Cyclists also face higher risks for crash-related injuries, illnesses and deaths than motorists. But the risks differ between cohorts, too, depending on their age, sex, and preferred riding location.

Young adults, adolescents, and older adults have the highest bike-related death rates in comparison with children, while men are more likely to be injured or killed on bikes than women. Most bike deaths also occur in urban areas (i.e., cities) and in non-intersection sites.


The bottom line: Following safety rules on the road can make the roads, streets and trails safer for cyclists. While bike-related accidents cannot be completely prevented, every cyclist has the right to and responsibility for road safety.

You must take it upon yourself to know the safety rules of biking especially when you’re on highways, roads and streets in rural and urban areas.

You should also educate your fellow riders about these safety rules, encourage them to adopt these measures, and learn from them. You will directly benefit from adopting these safety rules, too.

Your risks for being involved in an accident, either with just yourself or with other cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists, can be reduced, too. You will continue to enjoy the rewards of biking including improved physical and mental health.

Final Words

The more aware you are of your rights and responsibilities as a cyclist, the more likely you can be safe during your rides. Your rights to use the roads will be respected, too, by pedestrians and motorists.

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