Here’s a guest post with some safety tips for cyclists, on what you can do to make sure you stay visible in traffic when cycling!
If you are a cyclist, you understand the importance of staying alert and staying safe when you are on the road. There are several things that you can do to help improve your safety and ensure you reach your destination in one piece, but none of those things can surpass the importance of making sure that you stay in traffic when cycling. When you are cycling with 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.
#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 the proper headlight and taillight to meet local and state cycling laws. 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.
#2: Dress Yourself Up in Color!
More muted colors, such as black, brown, green, and white will blend in with your surroundings. If you are riding through a wooded area wearing black or brown and riding a blue bike, you will be harder 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
— Pedal Fort Collins (@PedalFC) 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, it’s always a good idea to wear some head protection, like 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
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.
Here’s a video from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that illustrates all of the points above:
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