It doesn’t matter who you are or how long you have been riding a bike, there is always that chance of an accident happening. While your chance does heighten if you don’t follow a few simple tips, it also lessens if you pay attention to these tips and actually use them. Some of these tips below for bike trips might seem pretty obvious, but you might be surprised at just how many people don’t listen, don’t pay attention or think that this is all a happy goofy activity and there is no chance of an accident happening. Well, unfortunately the second you don’t think it can happen to you, is when something can happen. So don’t let this just slide to the side, be smart, follow the tips below and stay safe – no matter if it’s a day trip, weekend trip, or an entire month.
You might think that just because a cycle doesn’t have a motor that it can do whatever it wants. But, that’s just not the truth and it’s not a safe way of thinking. You are considered to be an automobile of sorts, which means that you should and will have to follow all the same rules that a regular car does. When you roll up to a stop sign, you will be expected to stop. When you are in a school zone, you are expected to ride 15mph or whatever the zone calls for. When you turn in traffic – any traffic, cars or not, you will be expect to make hand signals to let people know which way you are turning. Not only is it the law, but it’s made to keep cars safe from hitting you and you safe from hitting cars or something else altogether. You won’t by any means look “cool” doing these hand signals, but you will be safe and so will everyone else be around you. Take your time when it comes to being on your bike. Bike tours or not, you are expected to take your time, anticipate any traffic or cars around you and ride defensively as always. It might not be the cool thing to do, but you have to consider who is around you and what could happen if you don’t follow rules and laws. To you on a bike, a big freight truck is just a bump in the road – trust me, it does happen and usually when it does it’s because some tough guy thought he was too cool to follow the laws.
Even if it isn’t a law where you are, always wear a helmet no matter what. In places where it is a law to have on a helmet you could get a huge fine or a citation for not wearing one. There are quite a few really cool looking helmets available these days, if you want to roll that way and are worried that wearing a helmet will look weird, unattractive or “geeky” by any means. This is a piece of gear that is designed to help save your life when it comes to head trauma. These are pretty cheap to buy, and they work incredibly well. You can even find some places that will create customized helmets with whatever colors and designs you want on them. Out of all the safety equipment you can buy and take with you on bike tours, this is the most important one! Another thing you need to consider is how you are dressed. In the same way any sane person wouldn’t wear shorts on a motorcycle, a cyclist wouldn’t wear colors that are hard to see on the road. This isn’t just about night time colors and safety either, you’d be surprised at how well your shirts and pants/shorts can blend into the scenery or worse the road. Make sure you don’t wear colors like tan, green (especially dark green) or brown. Always wear brightly colored clothes.
If you are traveling with a bike tour or traveling alone and want to ride through the night, make sure you consider 3 things; a light on your bike and helmet, decal reflectors on your bike and reflectors on your clothes. There are professional cycling stores that have custom or store brand lights that you can clip right onto your bike as well as your helmet. These are used in the same way cars use headlights – to not only get around better, but for other cars to see them and be aware of them as well. You want other cars to know where you are and that you are indeed on the road with them and that they need to be aware of it. These can vary well be the safety item for nighttime that you never considered, but definitely should! You should also have reflectors on your bike – try the front wheel, back wheel and one or two on each side of the bike. You can also find reflectors to put on your spokes as well if you want to be really safe. And you need reflectors for your clothes so if someone doesn’t see the bike; they can still see you in all your bike wielding glory.