PROTECT YOUR HEAD
Though it goes without saying, it still bears repeating. A helmet can make the difference between life and death if you end up in an accident while commuting on your bicycle. Studies show that riders who choose not to wear helmets are approximately 14 times more likely to suffer fatal head injuries than those who wear them. If you’re afraid your helmet will cramp your style, leave a little extra time in your commute, so you have time to freshen yourself up once you arrive.
SEE AND BE SEEN
First, go beyond hand signals to communicate with other people in the street with you. If you’re planning to change lanes or turn, signal with your whole body by looking over your shoulder, stopping your pedals, and starting to slowly drift in the direction of cars that are approaching from behind you. You can get a sense of how (and if) those behind you will react to make room for you. Once you see that it’s safe to move over, you can use the hand signal.
WATCH FOR ROAD HAZARDS
While biking can be a meditative exercise, it’s not without risks. You should avoid listening to music through headphones, which can hinder your ability to listen and react to your surroundings. For example, if a car is out of control and swerving into the bike lane, you might be unable to hear the screeching tires or horn with your headphones. To keep all senses focused on your safety, you should avoid any such distractions.
AVOID RIDING AT NIGHT
Familiarize yourself with bike lanes and get to know the route you’ll regularly take to commute. It’s not a bad idea to go for a test ride before you have to get to work, so you don’t get caught rushing and sacrificing safety to shave time off your trip. You’ll also want to have a backup plan so you can easily adjust if you unexpectedly come across construction or traffic one day.
USE HAND SIGNALS
Whether riding on the road or a biking trail, use the appropriate signals to indicate your path to those around you. This serves as efficient and effective communication to others in your party and everyone else on the road and can help avoid unnecessary mistakes that could lead to damaging and fatal crashes.