Looking To Grab the Bicycle Safety Bull by the Horns? Here Are Some Ideas To Start With

Maybe it hurts a lot of people's feelings to say this, but most folks have no cycling etiquette. What the heck am I talking about? Nothing more than the steps you should take to ensure that each ride is as safe as possible for yourself and those you share the roads and sidewalks with.
Bosch ABS 8 photos
Photo: Bosch
Autoliv and POC helmetBosch ABSBosch ABSUsing Phone While RidingHandfree BikingFeet Off the PedalsGravity Bike
Let's face it, when was the last time you wore a helmet while riding your bike? The chances of the answer being "never" are rather high. But why? Well, I think it has something to do with the fact that some of us have been riding bikes since we started to walk; it's just that natural. And just as the body isn't born with a helmet, this fusion between human and two-wheeler often feels like it needs no precautionary safety steps. Or something like that. I don't know what could be on people's minds; I'm no psychologist.

Well, there's no doubt that some steps need to be taken to raise bicycle safety awareness, and while local law enforcement and regulations may be doing something about all of this, we can still see an array of adults, parents, and even supervised children not taking into consideration some minor safety precautions while riding.

One team that's been focusing on the bicycle as a means of transportation during our everyday lives is Bosch. Upon waking on Saturday morning, I found an e-mail from this crew detailing a few safety steps they feel are essential while riding a bicycle, or any two-wheeler, for that matter.

Now, what is the first thing someone preaching about bicycle safety would say to you? "Wear a helmet!" This, folks, is common sense. You have two arms, you have two legs, but you only have one brain. Protect it because, at speeds of 5 mph or more, that hard encasing of bone is nothing more than an eggshell against a curb.

Autoliv and POC helmet
Photo: POC
Yes, I am trying to scare you! I myself have broken both my arms, protecting my brain bucket from impact at speeds of 25 mph (40 kph). The only benefit of the three months that followed was that I couldn't take my college exams and got a passing grade. Other than that, thanks, mom and dad, for all that you did for me back then. Wear a helmet!

Another thing you could do is install a few bells and whistles onto your bike to help you navigate pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Grab a pair of rearview mirrors, and install a bell, horn, and lights. All of these are designed to help you keep your eyes on the road ahead, raising the chances of you seeing any oncoming dangers; every time you look back to see if a car is coming is one or two seconds that you aren't focusing on the road ahead. I open car doors faster than that, wink wink.

A couple of other things you can do are simple steps like making eye contact with other drivers or cyclists on the road. This helps both parties prepare for any changes in trajectory, assuming everyone throws on all the proper hand signals. I have a question, do you know the appropriate hand signal for making a right or left turn while riding a bicycle?

Bosch ABS
Photo: Bosch
This brings us to the next point of this conversation: abide by local laws and regulations. This includes riding with traffic, "on the proper side of the road" and not against it, even stopping at crosswalks if traffic does so too. Just because you're on a bike doesn't mean you can make your own rules. Once traffic starts moving again, keep a constant speed unless you need to take turns or move about terrain; it helps those around you plan their own maneuvers.

We could add a few things to the list for the modern rider. Things like keeping both hands on the bars, not having headphones on to hear honks and other small attentions, and most definitely not texting or playing Candy Crush. The latter is valid no matter what vehicle you're handling.

Finally, don't ride your kid's bike. What I mean to say is that you should always ride a bicycle that's built for your size and abilities. It's not just a matter of you looking silly; it's about safety, as we all know how easy it is to tip a clown riding a tiny two-wheeler. Sure, that may be an exaggeration, but riding a properly fit bike ensures a safe and comfortable experience. Your ride will be all the more pleasant, as all the comfort points a frame's geometry will be acting upon the proper body type the size it is built for.

Gravity Bike
Photo: S.I.N. Cycles
Then there are the mechanics of riding a bicycle you need to consider, but there's no time for anatomy lessons. If you're thinking about grabbing a bicycle, you can head down to a local shop and grab some expert advice. You'd be surprised at how much of a difference it makes to have a proper consultation.

Listen, don't feel bad about any of this; it's never too late to make a change. The only time it's too late is when you wish you had a helmet that one faithful day. Take it from me, you never know when a bus will come out in front of you, and all you can do is take the hit from the sidewalk you ended up smashing into instead.

I wear a helmet every time I ride now, be it a scooter, roller blades, bicycle, or e-bike. Heck, some cities require a helmet just for walking around. Sounds like we've outpaced evolution as our bodies aren't prepared to hit things at speeds faster than, let's say, running. Ride safe and be courteous out there.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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