“Riding bicycles will not only benefit the individual doing it, but the world at large.” – Udo E. Simonis, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Policy at the Science Centre, Berlin, January 2010
The quotation mentioned above by Udo E. Simonis highlights the benefits of cycling versus driving in a motor vehicle. Succinctly stated, cycling reduces our carbon footprint on the environment and has physical and mental health benefits.
However, in our modern world, cyclists have to share the same road space as pedestrians, light- and heavy-duty motor vehicles, as well as two-wheel motorcycles. Therefore, the question that begs is how do cyclists avoid accidents and stay safe on the roads?
Tips to improve bicycle safety
Thus, here are several tips to keep cyclists safe on the road systems:
Do wear the appropriate safety gear
As noted in this bicycle safety infographic, it is critical to wear the correct safety gear like a helmet, sunglasses, and gloves.
A cycling helmet will protect your head should there be an accident,
Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the harsh sun rays as well as small stones and dirt that might be flung into your face up from the cars passing by,
And gloves will prevent your hands from slipping off the bicycle’s handlebars should your hands’ sweat or should it rain.
As an aside, it might seem at first glance that a bicycle helmet is rather flimsy and offers very little protection to the wearer, its components are designed to crumple on impact and protect the cyclist’s head from serious injury.
Do ensure you are visible at all times
If you and your bicycle are visible at all times, the risk of not being seen by motorists is substantially reduced.
Therefore, make sure that you wear brightly colored or luminescent clothing. Ensure that there are reflectors attached to both the front and back of your bicycle. And, attach a red flashing light to the back of your bicycle’s seat to ensure that you are visible in low light conditions.
Finally, it is advisable to use a bright cycling light or headlamp when cycling in conditions where visibility is poor. This will ensure that you can see where you are going and other people on the road will see you clearly.
Don’t weave in and out of the traffic
No matter how slow the traffic might be travelling when compared to how fast you are going, do not weave in and out of the cars to get ahead. You run the risk of being knocked down because motor vehicle drivers will not always be able to see you when you are in their blind spots.
Don’t cycle in a vehicle’s slipstream
Riding so close to a car or truck that you are in their slipstream is very dangerous for a number of reasons:
You will be too close to the back of the vehicle, so the driver won’t be able to see you.
If the driver breaks suddenly or swerves to avoid an object on the road, you will most likely end up in the back of the vehicle or under the car.