Bike Safety Challenges
Cycling gives riders many challenges. You must select the proper bike, learn how to fix a flat, clean and maintain the bike, hydrate, choose clothing for all types of weather, learn quickly how to remain safe, and a host of other issues.
The more you ride, the greater the risk. Novice and even experienced riders are amazed at the numerous ways accidents happen. We all have been in conversations with accidents being the subject. Hopefully, we can learn from these.
Most of us ride with someone most of the time. Staying upright requires verbal coordination with riding buddies. We all need to be able to identify situations that could possibly be dangerous, causing a crash or fall, and these need to be avoided. Remember, some riders have concerns that experienced riders do not. They could be concerned about distance, speed, hills, the weather, or anything else, causing a lapse in concentration.
Some thoughts for improving bike safety are:
- Learn to clip out of the pedals early. Don’t wait until it is too late. You need to be able to place a foot on the ground. Space yourself, especially at group stops and starts. If you cannot clip out immediately, you could travel five to ten feet farther than you want to go. Keeping a safe distance allows you to react to the unexpected with time to unclip, and that will keep you from going down.
- Always communicate with those riding with you. Ergo no surprises.
- Never turn into traffic on a guess, it’s just not smart, and it’s dangerous.
- Look ahead when you can. It can remove much of the drama from the ride.
All riders have their own methods to stay safe. The above are just a few. The idea is to reduce the amount of NM, near misses, and CC, close calls. Most of the time they amount to nothing, as you are able to steer out of them. However, if you have too many of these, the odds are strongly against you and you need to re-evaluate how you ride.
Riding is fun, and that is how it should be. Be alert, stay safe, and enjoy the ride.
Mike Heffernan, Member at Large