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National Bike Month Kicks off May 1: Key Tips to Stay Safe

May 2nd, 2024

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, a time to encourage more people to try bicycling with events happening all month–such as National Ride a Bike Day (May 5) and Bike to Work Week (May 13-19). Indeed, bicycling offers a wide range of health and wellness benefits (not to mention that it’s fun!). Cycling also has risks, especially if riders don’t take proper precautions or practice basic safety protocols. If you’re planning to hop on a bike this month (or this summer), let’s review a few safety tips you need to know.


Wear a Helmet: Protect Your Brain

First and foremost, always wear a helmet when riding your bike. In an accident, a helmet is your first defense against head injuries. Make sure to choose a helmet that is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The helmet should fit comfortably and snugly on your head–it should not move around or be too loose. Additionally, make sure to replace your helmet every five years or after any significant impact. Remember, it’s not just about the laws–it’s about your safety and well-being.


Dress for the Ride

While it may be tempting to wear your favorite summer outfit while riding your bike, it’s important to dress appropriately for cycling. This means wearing comfortable and breathable clothing that allows you to move freely on the bike. Avoid loose or baggy clothing that can get caught in the gears or wheels. Also, always wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet while riding.


Follow Traffic Laws

Bicycles are considered vehicles on the road, and as such, you are required to follow all traffic laws, just as a car would. This includes stopping at stop signs and red lights, signaling when turning, and riding single file with traffic flow. Always be aware of your surroundings and use hand signals to communicate with drivers.


Use Lights and Reflectors

Drivers can’t avoid you if they can’t see you. If you plan on riding your bike at night or in low light conditions, ensure you have front and rear lights installed. These not only help you see where you’re going but also make you more visible to drivers. Additionally, to increase visibility, reflective gear, and tape can be added to your bike or clothing.


Keep Your Bike Maintained

Before heading out on a ride, check your bike for any needed maintenance. This includes checking the brakes, tires, and gears to ensure they function properly. Keeping your bike in good condition helps prevent accidents and ensures a smoother and more enjoyable ride.


Stay Alert

You can control your actions on a bicycle, but you can’t control the actions of others, which is why staying alert while riding is crucial. This means avoiding distractions such as using your phone or listening to music with both ear pods. Use an ear pod in one ear only so you can still hear road sounds in the other. Make sure to scan your surroundings constantly, anticipate potential hazards, and be prepared to react quickly if needed.


Despite these safety tips, bicycle accidents sometimes happen. Often, these are caused by a driver or someone else who was negligent and did not practice a duty of care. If you’re injured as a result, the law entitles you to compensation for your injuries. Our experienced attorneys can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation.