-14 Feb, 2017
Riding a bicycle in the city can be a terrifying ordeal for first-timers especially due to the intimidating drivers and many pedestrians in the streets. The experience is, however, enjoyable when you get used to cycling in a crowded city and it is not as dangerous as it sounds. Gaining confidence and comfort riding in the city takes only a few rides to find yourself among the professional cyclist on the roads. There are, however, some factors that you need to consider before starting your riding escapades in the city.
Familiarise yourself with the state’s laws.
Every state has put in place for all road users which need to be observed at all times. You are likely to face legal charges if you break any of the laws and likely cause a safety hazard to other road users. Going through your state’s laws regarding road use by cyclist will help you know the safety precautions you should take while cycling in the city. These laws state the kind of costume that you should wear while cycling, the Do’s and Don’ts of road use and the areas which are permitted for cycling. In these laws, you may be required to wear a helmet and reflective jacket for your own safety and to be clearly visible to motorists.
You should also check to see whether cycling is allowed on the sidewalks or the main roads. There are some states which have designated cycling paths which prohibits cyclists from accessing the main roads while other requires cyclists to use the roads and leave the sidewalks for the pedestrians. Observing these rules will give you more confidence in cycling around the streets as you run your errands or for fun.
Assume that you are the only sane road-user.
Road safety starts with you by ensuring that you abide by the set road rules. If your state allows the use of main roads around the city, you should take caution of other road users, especially those who intimidate and bully cyclists while in their cars. Always keep a safe distance from cars to allow fast braking in case of an emergency. While overtaking any car, ensure that you use the designated side to avoid confusing other cyclists or cars which may result in an accident. Bicycles are quite helpful, especially in traffic. While overtaking vehicles in traffic, you need to observe a slow speed to avoid any accidents which may occur in an abrupt opening of car doors in front of you. Never assume that you are in the vicinity of the driver in front of you as some drivers may make a sudden turn especially when avoiding collision cars in front of them.
Some of the safety precautions that you should take to keep you cycling in the city include:
- Headphones Cycling with your headphones on is enjoyable when on car-free roads or bike paths, but it is a bad idea when in traffic. Always ensure that you can hear any hooting and precaution signs which may help you in avoiding accidents.
- Illuminate your bike When cycling at night, you need to clearly see your path while making it possible for other road users to see you. If your bike does not have lights, ensure you invest in rechargeable lights which you can clip on your bicycle at night. On top of wearing reflective jackets, you need a reflector light at the back of the bike to make it easier for drivers to recognise that you are on a bicycle from a safe distance.
- Respect other road users Drivers most of the time abhor using the same roads with cyclists as some of them are not considerate of other road users. You are more likely to meet drivers on the roads who intentionally intimidate or bully you. As a safety measure, ensure you follow the road rules to avoid annoying or confusing them with your manoeuvres. Investing in a camera which you can clip on your helmet and record all your movements will also be essential in ensuring that you can give the right account of what happened in case you encounter intimidating drivers who may cause accidents.
Maintain your bike.
Your bicycle should be in a serviceable condition for improved safety. Some of the areas of concern are the brakes and tires which should always be in the right working condition. A tools kit which you are familiar with comes in handy in ensuring that you can repair or service your bike. A spare tube and hand pump are among the essentials of your tools kit.