Bike riding is a lot of fun, and it can be great exercise as well. You’re working a lot of major muscle groups, and you can explore your neighborhood or venture into new territory. It’s also a way to reconnect with your friends or various family members.
There are some bike-riding safety concerns of which you should be aware, though. There are always cars looking to share the road with you, and you need to watch out when you’re going through construction zones. Sometimes dogs might chase you, or you might get into an argument with an inconsiderate motorist.
Despite all that, there’s a lot more positive you can say about bike riding than negative. Here are ways to stay safe if you take up this pastime.
Wear a Helmet Every Time You Go Out
Bicyclists have safety responsibilities just as car drivers do. You should always:
- Check for traffic if you’re biking out in the road
- Check for pedestrians if you’re biking on the sidewalk
- Signal with your arm outstretched if you’re going to make a turn
Aside from all that, you should always wear a bike helmet. If you’re in an accident and fly off your bike, you need to protect your head.
If you don’t, then you could sustain a concussion or a skull fracture. If you were going very fast, you might suffer an injury even worse than that. Just as all car drivers and passengers should wear their seat belts, you should never leave your helmet at home when you go biking.
Wear Pads as Well
You might also consider wearing some additional padding when you go biking. They make pads that protect the:
You might feel a little silly if you go out like that, but you’ll be glad of that protection if you get in an accident. You should particularly wear this sort of gear if you go mountain biking. A fall when you’re biking over uneven terrain can shred your elbows or knees if you’re not protected.
Wear Reflective Clothing
If you go out at night, then you should also consider wearing some fluorescent or reflective gear. There are shirts, shorts, and other clothing articles that companies make specifically for the nighttime biker.
Biking at night can be fun, but car drivers won’t see you if you’re wearing nothing but dark clothing. Even if you elect not to wear reflective gear, you can still wear all white. That makes you more visible in a car’s headlights.
You Can Avoid Biking at Night
Another approach is to avoid biking at night altogether. You might enjoy it, but the reality is that you’re more likely to get hit by a car that doesn’t see you, and in the dark, there’s much more chance that will happen.
If you stick to daytime rides, then you’re probably safer. You can also avoid going out on rainy or overcast days. Cars can’t see you as well if you’re out in the middle of a rainstorm, and your wheels can’t grip the road’s surface either.
You Can Go Biking as a Group
Bikers alone can sometimes get into trouble, especially if you’re passing through a rough area. You should avoid biking in high-crime neighborhoods. Bike riding is not the same as being inside a vehicle with locking doors.
If you do bike through a dicey area, though, at the very least, make sure you go as a group. If there are several of you, it’s less likely that someone will try to mug you or steal your bike.
You should also have a phone with you when you’re biking. You can call the police if someone hassles you, and you can also call an ambulance if you or someone else in your group gets hurt.
Avoid the Busiest Roads and Highways
Bikes have the same road rights as cars and other vehicles. Still, that doesn’t mean you should bike along the busiest thoroughfares.
You’re going to have cars honking at you because you can’t go as fast as the speed limit. You should also never get on the highway on your bike. You certainly can’t go the minimum speed limit there, and you’ll anger drivers in addition to courting danger for yourself.
Stick to side streets and quiet lanes in familiar areas. You can also look online to see what bike trails are near you. Often, there are bike paths in parks and woods nearby, and those are idyllic, peaceful places where you can get back to nature and relax.
Only Take the Kids with You if they’re Old Enough
You probably want your kids to get out there and bike with you if you’ve taught them how to ride. This can be a fun family activity that you can do as a group.
The only issue is that in your zeal to start this activity, you might not realize that your youngsters aren’t quite old enough to tackle some of the more challenging trails you like to traverse.
You need to start small, even when your child no longer has training wheels, and they’re more confident in their riding skills. Slowly build up to more challenging courses. You don’t want to try mountain biking or riding over any uneven terrain with your kids until they’re old and skilled enough to feel ready.
You should wear the proper gear, only go out at appropriate times, and bike in safe neighborhoods and on safe roads. If you do so, then this is an activity that you and your loved ones will enjoy, especially right now, with the pandemic raging.
When some states are seeing more cases, you might not feel safe doing things like going to gyms yet, but you still need to find a way to stay in shape.
Biking can be that for you, as it can be for your relatives, children, spouse, or significant other. This can be an excellent way to bond that burns some calories too.