During the third week of May each year, the country celebrates National Bike Week. There are many health benefits of biking, but it’s important to observe the laws of the road and be as safe as possible when biking around town. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration writes on their website, remember that “a bicycle is not a toy; it’s a vehicle.” Atkins has compiled a list of bike safety tips so you can enjoy a summer of responsible and fun biking.
Check your equipment.
Bike safety begins before you even hop on a bike. You’ll need a properly fitted helmet, first and foremost. Be sure that your tires are inflated and that your brakes are in good working condition before you leave your home.
Make yourself visible.
No matter what time of day you’re riding, you need to be visible to motorists, pedestrians, and other bicyclists. Wear neon or fluorescent-hued clothing. Reflective tape—adhered to the bicycle or worn on your clothing—is a good idea. Make sure you have a flashing light and reflectors on your bike as well.
Try not to ride at night.
It’s much more dangerous to ride your bicycle at night than during the day. If you can, avoid hopping on your bike from dusk to dawn.
Obey the rules of the road.
In many states, bicycles are considered vehicles and must share the road and obey all traffic laws accordingly. Be sure to ride with traffic, not against it. Never blow through a stop sign without coming to a full stop, just like a car. Watch out for hazards such as potholes, loose gravel, and railroad tracks. Use hand signals when turning left and right.
Note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that children under the age of 10 ride on the sidewalks.
Watch for parked cars.
Avoid riding too close to parked cars; an unsuspecting driver may fling his car door open directly in your path. Conversely, when you’re parallel parked on a busy street in your car, be sure to check over your shoulder for cyclists before you open the car door and exit your vehicle.