Be a Cautious Biker

Written by Bethany Kogut

The snow has melted, the sidewalks are visible, and the temperatures are finally warming up. All of these things must mean it is time to bring out the bikes that have been dormant all winter. With the sidewalks becoming more crowded with the spring weather, it is important to have adequate bike safety for yourself and for those around you. Before you hop on your bike, keep these few safety tips in mind:

Make sure your bike has breaks and a front and rear reflector. This is important so that you are able to stop in case you lose control or someone else cuts you off. Breaks may also be vital if a friendly little critter runs out in front of you. Reflectors are especially important while the sun is setting since drivers may not be able to see you very well. This is because it is very difficult to see at dusk. Your eyes function with a lot of light or none at all and when it is in between it is hard for your eyes to adjust.

Always wear a helmet. Although it may not be very fashionable, all of that wonderful information you are learning in class is important to protect while you are biking to and from. You will appreciate it when you need it, even if it is a pain now.

Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing, as it can get stuck in the gears and chain. I learned this the difficult way when I ripped my favorite pair of pants after they got stuck in my bike chain. I got lucky and didn’t encounter any other potentially serious outcomes. If loose fitting pants are your thing, make sure to roll or wrap them around your ankle with a velcro strap so they are more compact.

When riding on the road, make sure you ride with the flow of traffic. If you decide to ride on the road instead of on a  sidewalk, make sure you keep in mind all of the traffic laws and be extra cautious when driving near cars. Remember to keep a two second distance from the car or biker in front of you just as you would in a vehicle. This can be done by starting to count when a vehicle passes a stationary object. By the time you reach that object on your bike, you should have counted to two.

Enjoy the spring weather and happy riding!



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