Biking is a great way to get fit and get somewhere fast without using an ounce of gasoline. But the economic and health benefits aren’t worth it if you don’t practice good bike safety and consistently put yourself in harm’s way. Here are seven things not to do while riding your bike:
Riding Without a Helmet
The wonderful education and professional career you have ahead of you is worth protecting by wearing a helmet while riding. Even if you’re going “slow” or “just going down the street,” accidents can happen. In fact, there are more head injuries in bicycling than any other activity. So spend the $35 and get yourself a new bike helmet. There are dozens of styles you can select from, including the classic red and white that will showcase your Wolfpack pride.
Riding at Night Without A Light
Do you really want to trust the car behind you to see you riding your bike at night without a light and in dark clothing? Even the most aware driver can have a hard time seeing a person pedaling in the dead of night. Make yourself hard NOT to see by wearing bright, reflective clothing and attaching bike lights to the back of your bike seat and front of your handlebars.
Buzzing by Stopped Cars
We couldn’t find a photo of this, but you may have seen this situation play out on campus: a stoplight or stop sign causes a line of cars to stop. Instead of stopping in the line, a cyclist cruising down the road takes to the right or left of the cars and advances past them to save time. The safer bet is to follow traffic laws and hold your spot in line. Eventually traffic will move and you’ll have every opportunity to get where you need to go as safely as possible.
Riding a Bike that’s Too Big or Too Small
If you’re having trouble reaching the pedals or if your knees are hitting your arms while riding, odds are you are riding a bike that’s not a good fit for you. Make sure your bike is properly sized so that you have the optimal balance and control while biking.
Running Red Lights
This could get you a ticket and in an accident just like if you were driving a car. As a cyclist riding on the road, you’re expected to obey all traffic laws just like a motor vehicle.
Not Paying Attention to Parked Cars
Here you are riding along the right side of the lane and not paying any attention to any of the cars parked along the street. Then someone who just parked their car (and is equally not paying attention to you) opens the car door right in front of you, sending you airborne. Prevent this all-too-common accident by looking ahead several car lengths and by riding at least 3 feet from car doors if possible.
Not Paying Attention to the Road
Roads aren’t always clean, flat and smooth. The safest riders are always on the lookout for debris, objects in the way or even storm drains – all of which could cause a nasty crash.