Cycling Safety Tips

As fun and enjoyable as cycling might be, it isn’t entirely risk-free. Road conditions and traffic can be hard to predict. We’ve prepared a short refresher course on bike safety, and we’ll also be covering some helpful, less-often heard advice. So take a couple of minutes out of your day – it’s a minor time investment, but keeping these tips in mind can make a tangible difference in your safety.

You’re probably already aware of the basics of cycling safety. It might seem like an uncomplicated subject – but we’re all prone to overconfidence when it comes to the basics. Not only that, but there are a couple of important and useful tips that aren’t often mentioned – and they can really make a difference.

Safety should always be the first priority when cycling – remember, if you don’t cycle carefully, you’re not only putting yourself at risk but pedestrians too.


Cycling Safety Tips

Before You Leave the House

It’s always better to prevent a problem entirely instead of having to treat it later. The same goes for cycling safety. A large part of the battle can be won before it even begins – before you even leave home.

Taking the necessary precautions and properly preparing can make a huge difference. Let’s go over the steps that you can take to ensure your safety before you leave the house.

pre ride bicycle checklist

Bike Maintenance

First of all, make sure that your bike is properly maintained and regularly serviced – at least once every six months, even if everything seems to be in order. If everything doesn’t seem to be in order, take your bike in to get serviced as soon as possible.

This will ensure that everything is in working order. Minimizing the risk of a malfunction ensures that your bike will perform as you expect it to – and confidence plays a large role in road safety.

Check Your Tires

Before you leave the house, check your tire pressure – and if it’s insufficient, remedy that by using a bike pump. The easiest and most convenient way to do this is by investing in a high-quality home bike pump with a gauge.

Insufficiently inflated tires increase your risk of running a flat, and the suboptimal traction and resistance that is caused by low tire pressures can make accidents much more likely. These are huge risks – but thankfully, they can easily be avoided.


Make Sure You’re Properly Equipped

Next, make sure that you’re properly geared up. It goes without saying but bears repeating – always wear a helmet.

You should wear temperature-appropriate clothes, and if you’re planning on cycling at night or in low visibility conditions, wear reflective clothing. You should also have both a headlight and taillight installed, as well as a bell.

cyclist needs for biking

 If you’re cycling on a particularly windy or sunny day, invest in some eye protection and get a good pair of cycling sunglasses – and try not to forget to put on some sunscreen.

To help you maintain a better grip on the handlebar, purchase a good pair of cycling gloves. If you’re going on a longer ride, make sure to bring some water or a sports drink with you.

Those are the basics – but the world of cycling is filled with many interesting and useful gadgets and accessories that you should also consider.


Once You’re On the Road

Once all of that is said and done, you can finally leave the house. Now, let’s go over the general cycling etiquette, road rules, and advice that will help keep you safe. Just remember – these aren’t things that you should just “keep in mind” – you have to be actively aware and consciously striving towards them.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Always be alert – you can’t afford to have a lapse in concentration. Look straight ahead at all times and maintain a good overview of the road.

a rider on an intersection waiting for the train to pass

This means no listening to music – so ditch your headphones, and try to resist the temptation of checking your phone. It’d be ideal to just leave your phone at home – but we know that would be a bit unrealistic, so make use of a phone mount – but try to keep your eyes on the road.

Keep an eye on traffic and watch out for any pedestrians or animals. Drive at an appropriate speed, don’t turn sharp corners. In general, try to avoid all types of sudden or unexpected turns and movements.

Be Aware of The Conditions

Keep the present weather conditions in mind when cycling. Low visibility, rain, and snow all necessitate careful riding and a different approach to braking.

Adjust to the type of terrain that you’re traversing. Prepare for a little more effort when approaching an incline, and be conscious of braking when going downhill.

If you’re approaching rough or uneven terrain, brace for a bumpier ride and try to avoid all the rocks and obstacles that you can. If you see a slippery surface up ahead, slow down – otherwise, you run the risk of losing control of your bike.

It’s also important to consider your tires. Once the weather conditions slowly start changing, you should think about getting a different set of tires – one that is better suited to say rain or snow.


Cycling Etiquette

You should always obey your local traffic laws, but cycling etiquette goes above and beyond that. These helpful pointers can go a long way in preventing any accidents.

Pay close attention to traffic lights, stop signs, and speed limits – they’re in place for a reason. If you’re cycling in traffic, ride on the right side of the road, keep the speed of other vehicles in mind, and never ride against the direction of traffic. If possible, avoid busy roads and congested areas.

hand signals for bikers

If you’re cycling on a bike path, always ride single file, and communicate with your fellow cyclists by using a bell and hand signals. Don’t forget to let other cyclists know when you want to pass them.

If you’re in a pedestrian area, slow down and yield to foot traffic – if the area is too crowded, dismount and push your bike along until you get to a slightly clearer spot.

Keep a bike safety kit on you in case you or someone nearby gets a flat tire. A patch kit, small pump, and spare inner tube can make a world of difference when you’re in need – and so can a first aid kit if you have the space to bring one.

About the author
Cycling Safety Tips for 2020 — Bike Hacks