The League of American Bicyclists aims to create rider-friendly communities across the country by sharing safety tips that ensure everyone enjoys the sport accident-free. The 136-year-old advocacy organization has issued five “Rules of the Road” to prepare pedalers for a healthy and fun experience on their two-wheelers. With school out, vacations planned and sunny weather ahead, many families will explore their environs on a bicycle, so now is the perfect time to brush up on best practices.
The first rule is to abide by the letter of the law. Obey all signals and signs. Ride with traffic, not against it. Bicyclists bear the same responsibilities as motorists.
The second rule is to be predictable. According to the league’s Web site, “Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars.” Know and use the proper hand gestures when stopping or turning.
Third, be obvious. This might be the most-important rule because it saves lives. Ride so drivers can see you and are aware of your presence. Make eye contact with them. It also is a good idea to wear bright clothing.
The fourth rule is to be anticipatory. Pay attention to what that car in front of you or that motorcycle behind you will do next. Vehicles making turns or changing lanes are dangerous, as drivers are looking both ways and not at you. If they don’t see you, they will hit you.
Getting “doored,” as the Web site “How to Not Get Hit by Cars” explains, is another potentially deadly occurrence. The accident unfolds when a bicyclist is riding along a row of cars parallel-parked next to a curb, and a driver opens the door. How to avoid it: ride to the left so that if a door opens, you won’t crash into it.
“You may be wary about riding so far into the lane that cars can’t pass you easily, but you’re more likely to get doored by a parked car if you ride too close to it than you are to get hit from behind by a car which can see you clearly,” the Web site states.
Finally, ride ready. Is there air in your tires? Are you brakes in working order? Are your chained greased? Pack a tool kit to make repairs or fix flats. And always wear a helmet.
Happy and SAFE riding!