Safety should always be one of our utmost concerns when cycling. Since the vast majority of cyclists are travelling from point A to point B we are a part of the traffic stream. Here are several things that we can do to make ourselves safer next time we are cycling.
1. Always give your bike a quick check before taking it out for a ride. That means once you have wheeled it out over storage take the time to check that everything is in working order. Make sure that the brake pads are correctly aligned so that they when the time comes they touch the rim of the wheel and not the rubber tyres. Check the condition of the gears as well as the bike chain and that everything is working as it should be. If anything goes wrong with your bike when you are on the road it can cause a lot of problems for you and other road users so take the time to make sure it is in good condition.
2. Always make use of reflectors on your bicycle to maximise your visibility to others on the roads. The majority of accidents involving cyclists happen at times when there is reduced visibility such as at night or dusk. By using reflectors, car drivers will be able to see you more easily when their headlights reflect off them. For maximum visibility place your reflectors on the front and back of the frame as well as on both wheels.
3. Wearing a helmet is not optional and is quite possibly the most important thing you can do in terms of safety. You should wear a helmet every time you ride your bike and make sure that it fits correctly. A helmet could save your life, head injuries resulting from bike and motorcycle accidents, a large percentage of the times lead to death. A helmet could prevent this.
4. If you are cycling at a time of poor visibility wear clothing that is easily visible or better yet wear a reflective vest. Stay away from dark colours and stick with light color and they reflect light better and thus it will be easier for other road users to see you.
5. When cycling on the road you should follow the exact same traffic rules that cars follow. The rules are there for everyone’s safety and are the best way to keep safe. When riding your bike on the road make sure you are riding with the flow of traffic. Make sure you allow enough space for cars to pass you without leaving so much that car feels as if they can also drive alongside you.
6. You might know where you are going but nobody else does so use hand signals whenever possible. By letting other roads users know what you intend to do gives them ample time to react accordingly so that the likelihood of an accident is reduced significantly.