Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
There’s no doubt that cycling comes with enormous benefits. However, to experience these benefits, there are certain safety tips you should adopt.
The cycling safety tips not only contribute to your success cycling but also keeps you safe and protected. In this, article we’ll discuss a comprehensive list of all the safety precautions you should take.
Whether you’re a beginner or expert, they’ll come in handy. The tips cover everything dealing with your bike, the cycling environment and your well-being.
- 1 1. Use the Right Bike Size
- 2 Inspect the Various Bike Parts Before Departure
- 3 Check to Have Necessary Bike Accessories
- 4 Wear Outfits that Enhance Visibility
- 5 Understand Cycling Regulations in your area
- 6 Identify your Routes
- 7 Obtain Maps and Other Relevant Navigation Materials
- 8 Avoid Busy Streets
- 9 Use Wider Roads
- 10 Never Cycle in Blindspot Sections
- 11 Focus on your Cycling
- 12 Make use of Hand Signals
- 13 Manage your cycling Speed
- 14 Avoid Unnecessary Cycling Stunts
- 15 Follow Traffic Regulations
- 16 Be Aware of other Road Users
- 17 Beware of Parked Vehicles
- 18 Exercise Caution on Round Abouts
- 19 Carry Emergency Cash
- 20 Have Clear Identification
- 21 Save Details of Emergency Contact on your Phone
- 22 Give into Foot Traffic
- 23 Be Aware of the Weather Forecast
- 24 Have protection from the Elements
- 25 Ride with other Cyclists when possible
- 26 Watch out for Animals
- 27 Stretch
- 28 Stay Hydrated
- 29 Prepare your Body
- 30 Position yourself Adequately
1. Use the Right Bike Size
The firs step in having a safe and comfortable cycling is choosing the right size of bike. Majority ignore this part but it is crucial especially if you’ll be cycling often and for long distances.
The right size of bike ensures that you are comfortable, can reach all the functions as needed without a struggle. It’ll also eliminate any injury due to wrong positioning.
So how do you choose the right bike size for you? Make use of the many sizing charts available to have a rough idea. Remember, brands design their bikes differently, ensure that you refer to the various sizing charts available.
Once you have a rough idea of your ideal bike size, test out as many products as possible before choosing the right one.
This may not always be possible if you’re ordering one online, however, ensure that you’ve conducted as much research as possible. As long as you have an ideal of your size, you can easily make adjustments to the bicycle parts to make it more suitable.
Inspect the Various Bike Parts Before Departure
Whether you have a new or old bike it’s mandatory to inspect it before you commence cycling. A simple walkthrough can save you hours of frustration on the road.
Ensure that your tires have adequate pressure to withstand the whole trip. The tire pressure should reflect the recommended inflation pressure. If you’re not sure, check the current tire pressure using a bike pump. For the recommended tire pressure of the bike, check the sidewalls. Another aspect of the tires is their level of wear and tear.
Also, inspect on the chain. It should be sturdy and greased to enable movement. The spokes should also be tightened if loose and straightened if bent.
Brakes are also among the most important to check on. The cables should be functioning and the brake pads adequately pressing against the wheels. Test them severally for surety.
Check to Have Necessary Bike Accessories
There are a myriad of bicycle accessories available in the market. Although you can’t have all of them, there are must have bike accessories.
We’ll classify the accessories as follows;
These are accessories that prevent the occurrence of an injury and accident all together. They include; helmets, lights and reflector.
You should never leave your house without safety accessories especially a helmet. Besides, ensure that the helmet is the right fit and is sturdy enough to withstand impact in case you fall off a bike. It’s actually a law in most parts of the world to never cycle without a helmet.
Other equally important safety accessories are those that deal with your visibility. Bike lights, lamps, light indicators and reflectors help other road users see you. They are thus able to keep a distance and avoid bringing harm to you. There are many designs of lights, choose a combination that has you covered in all directions. Bike lights also help you to see where you are going at night or in not so clear weather. You’re able to avoid unsuitable terrain and obstacles on the way.
Those that aid with security protect you and your bike. Some of these accessories are bike alarms, tools/tool set, security locks, and a bike pump.
Security locks keep your bike secured whether you’re making a short stop or storing. It works hand in hand with a bicycle alarm as you can easily keep thieves away.
Tool sets and bicycle pumps come in handy when your bike needs repair. If you’re cycling for long distances in difficult terrain, it’s advisable to check on your bike tire pressure, bolts, nuts and chain. This is to avoid more serious damage when the parts give in. In case of a puncture, the tool set can help to repair until you access a repair shop.
Storage and Access
These include bags that store your items for easy access. They also ensure that you’re not distracted since your necessities are secured and there’s no danger of loss. There are different types of bags to utilize- a tube, shoulder, hydration or phone bag. It all depends on the capacity you need.
Your level of comfort affects how long you cycle and your condition after the cycle. To keep yourself as comfortable as possible, get accessories such as a bike seat cover, handlebar tape, gloves, and cycling glasses.
Wear Outfits that Enhance Visibility
How visible you are contributes to your safety on the road. This is because other road users are able to keep track of your movements and avoid colliding.
It is recommended to wear bright colored and reflective clothing to keep you visible from a distance. This is especially important at night. In addition to the clothes you are wearing, set up reflective strips on your bike or bike accessories.
The clothing you choose should be fitting as opposed to lose hanging. Loose hanging clothes often get caught up in the bike parts making it very difficult to cycle.
Understand Cycling Regulations in your area
The regulations that guide cyclists vary from one region to the other. It’s important to know the regulations in the area that you intend to be cycling.
They may vary regarding the routes you should take, cycling times, permit needed etcetera. With this information, you’ll ensure that you’re not on the wrong side of the law. Also, in case of any incident, you’ll be able to know the appropriate action to take being guided by the law.
Identify your Routes
Whether cycling for fun or to go to work, it’s prudent to identify which routes to take. You can identify the most suitable route to avoid a lot of traffic. In addition, you’ll know what to expect when being guided by maps or apps.
Identifying your route also helps to keep you safe. This is because you can let your friends and loved ones know. They can then be able to keep track of you and easily locate you in times of distress.
In order to identify your routes, you’ll need reference points. Maps and related materials come in handy when mapping out the best routes.
In case you’re not into juggling maps and mounts of paper, consult apps and navigational equipment such as GPS. There’s a myriad of options available that offer information on locations. You’re able to easily narrow down to your specific location.
When you study your location long enough, it gets pretty hard to get lost. It also gives you the confidence to explore new paths since you have a rough idea of the locations.
Avoid Busy Streets
Busy roads and streets bring a lot of chaos and distraction. You’re more likely to collide with pedestrians and other road users as they’re moving in every direction. Switch to less crowded pathways for a safer ride.
Use Wider Roads
Wider roads provide an opportunity to maneuver. The frequency of head-on, run-off road and sideswipe crashes are greatly reduced. When you keep to wider loads, they’ll be smooth flow of road users enabling you to get to your destination on time.
Never Cycle in Blindspot Sections
Cyclist blind spot areas are those that drivers don’t have a clear view. This might be because of the vehicle or road design.
Do not assume that a driver has seen you. Try to always anticipate the moves of drivers to be on the safe side. The general rule is, if you’re not able to see a vehicle side mirror, chances are they haven’t seen you.
If a car is likely to make a turn that interferes with your path, slow down or move out of the way.
Focus on your Cycling
It’s prudent to keep your mind focused on the cycling activity to avoid running into things. If you find anything on the road taking your attention away, stop first. Look or converse with whoever you need to before proceeding to your destination.
Also, when stopping, be courteous enough to move out of the way and give adequate space to other road users.
Make use of Hand Signals
Hand signals are among the quickest ways to communicate with drivers. This is because they are universal and clearly communicate your intention.
Most noteworthy, take your time before making a move after signaling to give adequate time for the driver to take in the message. Do not just signal and move. You’ll avoid an accident this way. Take your time signaling to ensure the message has gotten across.
The most common hand signals are when your making a turn (left or right) and stopping.
Manage your cycling Speed
Cycle at a speed that you can easily manage. This is especially when on busy streets. A lot of unexpected occurrences take place and it is important to be able to stop or navigate at a moments notice.
It’s exciting to glide at a high speed but this should not be at the expense of yours and other road users’ safety.
Avoid Unnecessary Cycling Stunts
You may feel the need to show off your cycling prowess when on the road- Please don’t. Cycling when on one tire or without your hands on the handle bar is cool but a simple mistake may lead to grave consequences.
Instead, practice the stunts in a controlled space that is away from motorists. Also, engage your friends when doing these activities for assistance. It also helps to build experiences without posing a risk of harm to other road users.
Follow Traffic Regulations
Never ignore traffic regulations while on the road. They are in place to keep you and other motorists safe. Keeping to the rules and regulations ensures that there’s order without the loss of property and life.
You should know that when on the road, you observe similar rules to a vehicle. It might not always seem so because of the superiority that some drivers try to portray. Either way, do what is required and you’ll be okay.
Majority of the rules that some cyclists flaunt are traffic lights, entry of junctions without stopping and signaling.
Be Aware of other Road Users
Just because you are aware of the rules and follow them when on the road does not mean it applies to other users. Therefore, be aware of everyone you come across.
Also, avoid unnecessary confrontations in case someone cuts you off or makes a move that interferes with your cycling. Embrace the experiences and take them as lessons.
Beware of Parked Vehicles
It is advised to keep a distance from parked cars even when cycling on narrow roads. The practice is to ride a door and a bit more. This enables you to avoid hitting car doors if they open unexpectedly.
According to statistics, about 20% of cycling injuries are a result of dooring. Moreover, this number has been increasing by almost 60% from the year 2014.
If you’re lucky enough to swerve and avoid dooring, chances of falling are increased. You might fall on the path of oncoming traffic which might be catastrophic.
Exercise Caution on Round Abouts
Before you make a move on roundabouts, take time to assess its state. Stop if you need to and give vehicles already in the roundabout time to clear to give you safe space.
Observe all directions before making a move. Don’t be tempted to compete with other motorists as it endangers your safety.
Carry Emergency Cash
Emergency cash is that which you have not planned for and comes in handy to sort out the unforeseen circumstances.
You can have money on your phone or card but it’s also good to have cash in hand. This is because you may find yourself in an area without a signal or card usage. Cash in hand will enable you pay for transportation or at least allow you call for help.
Have Clear Identification
It’s important to have some form of identification on you always. Whether a national issued ID or road ID. The form of identification should contain important information that may help in assisting you in case of an accident or related emergency if you’re not conscious.
Details such as emergency contact, age, allergies, medical condition etcetera will allow faster delivery of needed assistance.
Save Details of Emergency Contact on your Phone
Emergency contacts are individuals who get the first call in case of an accident. If the contacts are not on you, add them to the phone lock screen for easier access.
It doesn’t help much if they’re saved on your phone and no one has access due to a code or lock pattern. Setting up emergency contacts on your phone home screen is possible with both Android and iPhones.
Give into Foot Traffic
Avoid colliding with pedestrians by giving them way on pedestrian crossing. Make use of a bell to signal your presence if they are not aware of it. In addition, give them time to react as some may get startled. This is especially so in paths that cyclists are not common.
Always cycle in cyclist designated areas if available to avoid butting heads with pedestrians and motorists alike.
Be Aware of the Weather Forecast
Weather conditions affect your cycling experience. This is because it may enhance or greatly hinder your ability to cycle.
Take a moment to check on the predicted weather forecast for the day. It will aid in knowing what to expect and thus prepare for it. For example, if there’s a rainfall prediction, you can carry a rainproof jacket and related gear to help combat the effects.
You can easily find the day’s forecast online, on your Television or Weather App. Although the forecasts are not always accurate, a rough idea won’t hurt.
Have protection from the Elements
Ensure that before you leave the house your body – especially skin is protected. This is especially so for areas that are not covered by your cycling outfit.
During the sunny season, use adequate sunscreen to prevent sun burns. Apply a sunscreen that offers protection against A and B UV light.
Aside from sunscreen, make use of UV protecting cycling sunglasses. They’ll ensure that your visibility is not hindered by strong rays of the sun.
Ride with other Cyclists when possible
Riding with a group of cyclists makes you more visible. It also helps to elevate your bike-handling skills. This is because you’ll need to be very aware and maintain a specific pace. This, in turn builds your confidence, experience and exposes you to new routes and cycling methods.
In addition, you’ll be able to keep your motivation high as you engage in the sport compared to cycling solo. Another benefit of riding as a group is that you’ll easily get assistance in case of a puncture or issue with the bike. You’re also able to handle other road users better when it comes to bullies.
Watch out for Animals
Depending on where you’re cycling, you’ll come across different types of animals. Take caution when approaching most animals since their perception of danger varies. Slow down, stop or move away if possible.
Since sitting on the bike limits your degree of movement, it’s beneficial to stretch before and after cycling. You’ll be able to avoid injuries that result from sitting especially if done for a long time. You’ll also give your legs the ability to relax and facilitate blood flow.
Stretching after a ride also reduces fatigue and minimizes soreness. Some cyclists have reported improved performance due to regular stretching. This is because it makes you flexible and gives you the edge to move faster.
The liquid level in your body should be adequate to maintain optimal physical and mental health for cycling. You can hydrate using water and energy drinks to replace lost electrolytes.
You should hydrate more especially when it’s hot and not so much when it’s cold. There’s no specific regimen for hydrating. However, it is recommended to take about 12 to 16 ounces of water before cycling. Moreover, keep sipping on water during the exercise depending on your intensity, and loss of water through sweating.
During cycling, it’s good to mix up fluid intake. Don’t just drink water. Add energy or hydration drinks that have additional minerals for replenishing lost electrolytes.
Prepare your Body
Cycling is a physical and mental exercise. You therefore need to prepare both aspects especially if cycling for long sessions.
Physical preparation involves fueling your body with the right foods to give you energy. What you eat will determine your glycogen storage and the ability to convert it into energy. Foods rich in carbohydrates give you energy while those with proteins help build muscle. The quantity of food you consume is directly proportional to the cycling duration.
Keep your mind open to different cycling experiences. It’ll make it easier to tackle any situation that comes up while on the road. Also, fixate on your goal and be willing to push yourself to get the most out of the experience.
To get in control of your mind, relax by taking deep breathes, focus on the cycling and endure the discomfort. With this, you’ll build your mental muscle and observe growth in all aspects of your cycling activity.
Position yourself Adequately
How you position yourself on the bike determines your comfort and visibility. To be well-positioned, your bike seat should be well-fitting and accommodating to your body. It’s best to have a seat that minimizes movement to prevent saddle sores.
Another aspect of positioning is the bike angle. This affects how balanced you are on the bike. Ensure that the set angles conform to your size to prevent you from falling off.