Bike riding is an amazing way to stay fit and Covid-19 has reminded us of how important it is to keep fit and also how to save money wherever you can. Many people started riding bikes during the pandemic and the trend is now continuing. But with so many new cyclists on the road, how does one stay safe.
3 feet between the cyclist and vehicles
When you’re riding your bike, bicycle buffer zones give a cyclist that added feeling of safety. They don’t have to fear that a large car or truck will all but knock them off the road. That’s because these buffer zones surround bike lanes and they’ve been painted to mark the area.
The wider bike lanes ensure that traffic is further away from them, making it that much safer to ride. While Wisconsin was the first state to pass bicycle buffer zone laws, many other states have joined in to also have these safe laws – the ‘Three Feet for Safety Act’ where there is to be a 3-foot distance between vehicles and bikes. If a driver violates this buffer zone, they can be fined.
There are requirements for reflectors, particularly when bikers ride in the twilight hours and into the night. Even though bikers may make use of dedicated bike lanes, whichever roads they might use, motorists need to see bicycle riders. In fact, for riding at night, most states require a white light in the front that has a beam that extends at least 500 feet ahead.
Red reflectors are required on the saddle area and the pedals as well. States require these reflectors as safety measures. Certainly, for riding in the evenings and at night, you are required to wear clothing with high visibility and reflective tape.
While the chances of being struck by a vehicle while riding at night are far higher than during the day, you need to remember that tunnels simulate darkness, even during the day, so it’s important to take precautions and always take steps to remain safe.
The right size
It seems almost ludicrous to tell some to ride the right size bike for safety sake. And yet battling to reach the pedals because the saddle has been hitched up too high can mean a cyclist not having proper control over a bike and possibly falling into traffic.
But not only that, your bike-type needs to serve your purpose with it. It doesn’t help to take a regular commuting bike with thin little tires and frame and try to pound across the mountains with it in an attempt to win the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in Colorado. You need a special mountain bike with wider, sturdier tires for the rough terrain you’ll be traversing.
General bicycle safety
In some countries, it is mandatory to wear a bicycle helmet whenever you go out onto the roads. In the USA, this is not so except when riding for competition. Certainly, helmets can help to reduce injuries and fatalities.
They can’t offer full protection against impacts from motor vehicles, and they can’t offer certain protection from concussion either. They certainly can help if a cyclist is involved in an accident or if they were to fall and slam head-first towards the road.
Also, as a cyclist, you need to know about traffic rules and road conditions, too, alerting motorists as to what your intentions are. Always communicate your intentions to change lanes or to stop. Be particularly alert during certain weather conditions.
Potholes are particularly dangerous to riders during rain, and if you come thundering down a hill at top speed and enter a pothole covered by water, you can be very seriously injured and your bike left mangled and twisted.