Bicycling is a fun and healthy way to explore the outdoors, especially in spring and summer. However, biking also has safety risks that can lead to injury if you are not careful. The more you know about bike safety, the more you can enjoy your next bicycling adventure. Stay safe with these rules for riding:
- Protect yourself. Wear a bike helmet and bright or reflective gear. Install a white front light and red rear light on your bike, as well as reflectors for visibility. A horn, bell and rearview mirror are also good safety additions.
- Keep kids safe. If you bike with children, make sure they also wear properly sized, protective helmets—even in ride-along attachments.
- Ride a bike that fits. If your bike is too big, it is hard to control and makes for an unsafe ride. A bike shop can help determine the best fit for safety.
- Stow and carry. Carry items in a backpack or strapped to a bike rack or carrier. Your hands are for holding onto handlebars, not for carrying items while you bike.
- Ride a roadworthy bike. Make sure your bike seat is at the right height and locked in place. Your tires should be fully inflated. You may also want to carry a bike repair kit in your backpack to fix any unwanted flat tires. Don’t forget a water bottle for hydration and a healthy snack for energy.
- Ride responsibly. All states require bicyclists to follow the same rules as motorists. Obey street signs, signals and road markings. An estimated 80 million bicyclists share the road with cars, so it is important to keep your eyes and ears on the road and not get distracted by your phone.
- Don’t drink and ride. Alcohol accounts for about 37% of bike fatalities. Stay alert and don’t drink if you are getting on a bicycle.
- Get educated. Many bike safety programs are available that can help build your confidence and skills as a biker. There are also a variety of specialty programs for riders interested in off-roading or biking that require a greater level of skill.
The League of American Bicyclists is a great resource for everything bicycle- related—including educational videos, classes, tips and other information about bike safety.