Six Essential City Cycling Safety Tips
What's our favorite way to get around a city? No, it isn't by car, subway, bus, or even foot; believe it or not, a bicycle is actually the speediest way to get to wherever you need to go in the city. With a bike, you won't have to worry about being at the right spot at the right time to catch a train or hail a cab. You won't have to deal with the road rage that gridlock causes, either.
Yes, biking is undoubtedly the speediest way to get around an urban area. Jump on your bike, and you'll be able to zip down streets, around honking cars, and past buses stuck in traffic jams; you won't have to worry about dashing to catch an upcoming – and super crowded – train, either. While biking may be fast, you may be wondering if it's safe. After all, with crowds of vehicles and people, it's hard not to wonder if you'll be safe traveling around the city by bike. As long as you take some smart safety precautions and have a plan in place, yes, biking can be a safe way to commute around the city.
Here's a look at some essential safe city cycling tips.
Always Wear a Helmet
A helmet is a must. Period. No matter where you're cycling, including a city. Never, under any circumstances, even think about getting on the back of a bike without an appropriately sized and properly secured helmet.
Always Assume Car Doors will Open
Believe it or not, getting "doored" is something that happens all too frequently to cyclists in the city. Nothing will ruin your day more than driving smack-dab into a car door. To avoid the potential danger, always assume that car doors will open and ensure that you maintain a safe distance between yourself and parked vehicles.
Don't Hug the Curb
While yes, you may want to stay close to the curb, you don't want to hug it. If you're too near to the curb, a wheel or peddle could get caught, or you might hit a massive pothole, a puddle, or a whole lot of dirt and debris. Do yourself a solid and keep some distance between your bike and the curb.
Keep an Eye on the Mirrors
A good rule of thumb? If you can't see a vehicle's mirrors, then the person driving the car can't see you. Always make sure that you have the motorists' mirrors in your line of vision.
Avoid Getting Boxed In
Remember always to have a clear and easy exit. This means you're going to want to avoid getting yourself boxed in between vehicles. When you're boxed in (a car in front, in back, and on either side of you), you aren't able to escape if you need to; plus, there's a good chance that drivers won't be able to see you.
Keep a Safe Distance
Tailgating is dangerous when you're driving; it's even more dangerous when you're cycling. If a vehicle in front of you makes a sudden stop and you're too close, you'll have little ( or no) time to make a stop or veer out of the way. Image slamming into the back of the vehicle, flipping over the handlebars, and pancaking on the trunk, roof, or road. Not pleasant.
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- Memphis, TN.