Here are five essential ways to stay visible in traffic when cycling. These tips will help you to keep yourself safe as you enjoy your favorite activity, cycling.
If you are a cyclist, you already understand the importance of staying alert and staying safe when you are on the road. It is a pity that we have to work so hard to stay safe. But it is nonetheless a fact of life. There are many things that you can do to help improve your safety and ensure you reach your destination in one piece. However, none of these are more important than making sure that you stay visible in traffic when cycling. When you are cycling with large, motorized vehicles around you, you need to make sure you stand out and that you are noticed. Here are some tips on what you can do to make sure you stay visible in traffic when cycling.
Related Post: 7 of the Best Bike Lights for Night Riding and Commuting
#1: Lighten Up!
If you are riding after dark or at dusk or dawn, you need to make sure your bike can be readily noticed by drivers. You should do this by making sure you have a decent headlight and taillight. This usually means a white headlight that can be seen from 300 to 500 feet in the front and a red taillight that can be seen several hundred feet to the rear. You should also make sure you have adequate reflectors. This means on the bike fenders, spokes, and pedals, and even on your wrists, ankles, chest, legs, and back.
Related: Complete Guide to Bike Lights
A roll of reflective tape is great for adding more visibility to a helmet, a bike, or any other gear you may want to make more visible. And it is super cheap too. We have an entire post about how to maximize your protection with good old reflective tape.
#2: Dress Yourself Up in Color!
More muted colors, such as black, brown, green, and white will blend in with your surroundings. Especially when you wear black at night. Don’t forget that there have never been more senior drivers on the road than there are right now. Many of them have trouble seeing dark objects at night. Even if you are riding on brightly lit streets, you may be hard to notice. It may be a good idea to take a page from construction and utility workers and wear “high visibility” gear. Bright colors such as hot pink, neon yellow, lime green, red, and orange are going to be much more noticed than the traditional shades worn day after day.
When you’re picking out your cycling gear, it’s always good to look out for clothing in these colors, especially if they have reflective accents. For example, many cycling jackets are very brightly colored and also have reflective accents.
#3: Choose the Best Lane Position
Place yourself in the lane so you will be noticed. Cyclists riding in the middle of the lane are much more noticed than those riding by the curb. It is much safer in the middle of the lane as well because there isn’t as much trash and debris there as over by the curb. You don’t want to be in vehicle blind spots, so stay where drivers will have to see you.
Sometimes the center of the traffic lane is safest place as a cyclist to ride. Learn to take the lane like a boss.https://t.co/kpVGzhrjQv
— Urban Fort Collins (@UrbanFoCo) August 1, 2016
#4: Ride Predictably
Ride predictably and don’t swerve in and out of traffic. Instead, use hand signals and follow traffic signs. Bikes swerving in and out of traffic or zipping past cars on the right are much more likely to be hit by a car because the driver won’t notice them. Even self-driving cars have learned how to recognize cyclists’ hand signals, so be sure to use them!
— Chris (@cdandro) July 7, 2016
#5: Wear a Helmet
Even if you’re not required by law to wear one, when you are cycling with traffic it’s usually a good idea to wear some head protection. Such as a brightly colored helmet with reflectors on it. The helmet will not only protect your head in the event of a crash, it will also help you be noticed during both daylight and dark. Helmets are made from various materials, so you will find one that is the right style and size for your head. Make sure it will strap on tightly and not wobble, but you don’t want it too tight for you to move your neck. Children in particular often seem to be wearing a hand-me-down helmet that is almost falling off – that’s not very useful!
— Good Cyclist (@good_cyclist) December 10, 2016
Video Illustrating How to Stay Safe on the Road by Staying Visible
Here’s a video from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that illustrates all of the points above:
This article was created by the Outreach Team at Personal Injury Help, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice or opinion, and is intended for informational use only. To find out more about the Outreach Team, you can go to their website or contact them. We hope that you found this post useful!
Check Out Our Most Popular Posts!
Did you enjoy this post or find it helpful? If so, please support our blog!
We write this blog because we love cycling. But we also need to earn a living, so we REALLY would appreciate if you click through to one of our reputable affiliates for your online shopping. We are proudly affiliated with Amazon, which sells pretty much everything, and has outstanding shipping and return policies. When you buy from our affiliates we make a small commission, and this is the only way we earn any income. Plus, it costs you nothing at all - a real win/win situation!