4 Safety Tips to Prevent Bicycle AccidentsBy Hannah Smith
Bicycling is a great way to get exercise, reduce your environmental impact, and get around town. But just like drivers and pedestrians, bicyclists face a number of hazards on the road and even on designated bike paths.
Statistically, bicycle accidents increased 29% between 2010 and 2017, rising from 793 to 1,024. In Hamilton, Ontario, there were 179 bicycle accidents in 2016. That same year, a total of 18,477 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents in the UK.
With injuries and deaths on the rise, it's important to take safety seriously when bicycling. These four tips can help you enjoy a safer ride.
1. Wear a Helmet
All bicyclists should wear an appropriate helmet - both adults and children. It doesn't matter whether you're commuting to work or going for a ride around the block, it's important to wear your helmet each time you go out for a ride.
The helmet should be certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and you should also ensure that it fits you properly.
Here are some tips:
Make sure the helmet is level on your head. It should cover your forehead (one to two finger widths above the forehead) without tipping forward or backward.
The fit ring or sizing pads should be adjusted to give you a snug fit.
Adjust the side straps to ensure they form a "V' shape under or just in front of your ears.
The chin strap buckle should be centered under your chin. Make sure the chin strap is snug. You shouldn't be able to fit more than one or two fingers between your chin and the strap.
The helmet should not rock more than 1" from side to side or front to back once it's fitted.
A proper fit is crucial. An improper fit will make the helmet useless, so take the time to make sure that you're wearing your helmet properly.
2. Inspect Your Bike Before Riding
Always inspect your bicycle before going out for a ride.
All parts should be secured and working properly.
The seat should be at the appropriate height and locked into place.
Tires should be properly inflated.
Reflectors should be in place at the rear and front of the bike as well as the spokes and pedals.
It may also be a good idea to install a bright headlight and a horn or bell to make sure that other drivers and bicyclists can see you.
3. Use Lights and Reflective Gear
Bike headlights and reflectors will make you more visible on the road, but you'll also want to make sure that you're wearing bright, neon or fluorescent clothing to further improve your visibility.
Whenever possible, try to ride during the day. If you must ride at night, use flashing lights and wear reflective clothing.
4. Follow the Rules of the Road
Bicyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as motorists.
Always ride single-file and in the direction of traffic.
Use hand signals when turning.
Be extra cautious at intersections.
By following the rules of the road and wearing the appropriate gear, you can reduce your risk of getting into an accident while riding your bicycle.