These days, with pollution levels reaching disastrous proportions and fuel prices at all-time highs, it has become more attractive than ever to get rid of the car and start riding a bicycle everywhere, or to at least have a bike sitting around that you can ride to work from time to time. In fact, many citizens who have taken the plunge have found that riding a bicycle as their main transportation not only saves them money but slows their life down to a more manageable pace while at the same time doing wonders for their health. But riding bicycles on roads crowded with automobiles is certainly not without risks.
Here are some crucial tips for staying safe while riding a bicycle out on American streets.
1. Follow the Rules
One very important rule is to follow the rules of the road when on a bike—that means that just because you're not in a car does not mean the same rules do not apply. This is both for legal purposes and in the best interest of your safety. On a bicycle you feel more free, and that is much of the allure, but if you make sure to stop at all signs and stoplights, ride with the flow of traffic, and use proper hand signals when turning, you will be much less likely to put yourself in a situation where you are injured by a driver who does not notice you.
2. Ultra-Defensive Riding
Speaking of drivers who do not notice you, this is a real danger when you're on a bicycle—the risk is perhaps even greater than when riding a motorcycle because you can't grab the throttle to maneuver out of the way of an obviously careless driver. Not to mention that your increased vulnerability makes avoiding accidents absolutely imperative. Always be the most defensive driver on the road if you value your life. Scan ahead and within your peripheral vision, and watch for drivers who are driving erratically or not paying attention.
3. Hit the Trails
Perhaps your most defensive move is to get off the roads completely, and with many cities around the nation making moves to encourage more bike riding in the drive towards greener cities, this is easier than ever in certain places. Many cities have made it a point to set up bike trails throughout the city, especially in areas where riding with regular traffic is particularly precarious. You can often find maps of such bike trails online, and you can map out your routes ahead of time, allowing for a more scenic, safer way to dash around town.
4. Safety Gear
Finally, never underestimate the importance of safety gear. A lot of adults neglect the simplest safety precautions, like riding with a helmet, because they don't take bike accidents very seriously. But bicycle accidents can be serious, and if a car is involved it will most certainly be serious.
Wear not only a good helmet but safety pads and bright clothing. You should also purchase a headlight and illuminated flashing lights for the back of your bike.
Riding a bike is a great idea if you're overwhelmed by the typical American lifestyle, but if you end up getting injured, the fun gets sucked out of it pretty quickly. Use some common sense and these four tips, and the slow-paced, healthy lifestyle of a bike rider is well within your grasp.
James Druman - About the Author:
If you get in a bicycle accident in Wisconsin, don't think that just because your transportation has no motor means you are not in need of legal help. To find a professional Milwaukee bicycle accident attorney, go to http://www.warshafsky.com/bicycle_accident.html now!