Three million people are injured every year in car accidents on U.S. roads. In 2019, more than 800 bicyclists are killed in crashes with motor vehicles. The road can be a dangerous place for those on bikes if they’re not prepared.
There are several precautions bicyclists can take to avoid a bicycle accident and share the road safely with cars. Here are nine tips:
It doesn’t matter where you’re riding your bike — and whether cars are present or not — you should always wear a helmet. According to a study published in the journal Brain Injury, 78% of adult cyclists and 88% of young riders who suffered head and neck injuries were not wearing helmets when they were injured.
Never wear headphones or a headset. And like when you’re driving, put the phone down.
If you’re riding at sunrise, sunset, night — or any other time when it’s harder for drivers to see you on the road — you’ll want to take precautions to ensure you’re noticed. Use lights on the front and/or back of your bike and wear bright colors.
When riding in traffic, you’ll be expected to follow all traffic laws. This means turning only when you can turn and following all traffic signs and lights, including stop signs.
You’ll want to stay out of the way of cars and other vehicles. For cars, keep at least four feet away so that you and the car react safely and quickly should you need to.
You should never assume that a driver has noticed you and your bike, even when you have the right of way. Instead, when you’re waiting at a stop sign or light, be sure to make eye contact with the driver, so it’s clear that you are there before taking making your turn.
Again, the surrounding drivers must see you, especially the ones who are not trained to look for cyclists. Don’t get lost in their blind spots, especially when you are at a stop sign or light.
This makes your path more predictable for drivers and also makes it easier for them to go around you.
Like “don’t drink and drive” this tip should go without saying.
Riding your bike with cars can be nerve-wracking. But if you’re prepared, you can help ensure it will be a safe experience for everyone.