4 Essential Safety Tips for Riding a Bicycle in Traffic

Cycling can be a lot of things for a lot of people. It can be transportation, recreation, exercise, sport, or any combination thereof.

But it can also be a danger, especially when cyclists have to share the road with motorists. In one year alone, 846 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents.

If you find yourself riding a bicycle in traffic, make sure you follow these tips to make sure that you have a safe ride every time.

  1. Be Wary of Using Sidewalks

Many cyclists will try to play it safe by avoiding roadways in favor of riding on the sidewalk. This is illegal in the United States, though it’s so rarely enforced that many people are not even aware they can be cited for it.

And while there are times when the sidewalk is definitely safer, you should still exercise caution.

Many motorists are only concerned with scanning the roadways, and might not notice the cyclist riding on the sidewalk alongside them. This becomes a common cause of accidents when a driver makes a sudden turn.

The expectation is that any pedestrian would be slow enough that they would have time to react and wait for the vehicle to pass. That’s less the case for cyclists, who may not have the time to stop.

  1. Don’t Hug the Shoulder

When riding the roadways, a common impulse is to hug the gutter. While this seems like the logical thing to do, it can lead to accidents.

Since motorists tend to scan the center of the road and not the sides, an inattentive driver may not notice you. Alternatively, a passing car may see you all the way over to the side and underestimate the amount of clearance they need to leave you.

  1. Don’t Worry Too Much About What’s Behind You

Another common mistake is being too preoccupied with the traffic coming behind you.

Being hit by a car from behind is actually uncommon. Whether drivers like it or not, bicycles have the right of way and have to cede the roadway. What’s more, there’s not much you can do about the traffic behind you anyway, so we tend to worry about it more than we should.

What it does do is distract us from potential hazards in front of us, leading to avoidable accidents.

  1. Seek Immediate Aid When an Accident Occurs

Even if you do everything right, there are always factors outside of our control. In particular, the people we have to share the roads with.

An accident doesn’t need to be fatal to have a major impact on your life, leaving you with medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Even if someone would prefer not to pursue legal action, it is often the only financially viable option open to them.

Even then, however, funding legal proceedings out of your own pocket may not prove feasible. Fortunately, there are organizations that can provide settlement funding for bike accidents. Resources like these can help you seek the restitution that you need in a timely fashion.

Riding a Bicycle Safely Every Time

Bike riding can be a fun, healthy, and eco-friendly way of getting around. At least, as long as you follow some basic safety tips.

However, many of the best tips for riding a bicycle can be somewhat counter-intuitive. The main takeaway is to always be as visible as possible and to ride predictably. Do that and stay alert at all times, and you should have little to fear when sharing the roadways.

And moving forward, be sure to keep up with all of our latest guides to help make sure that wherever your travels take you, you can count on a safe and satisfying trip.