​A Comprehensive Guide to Bike Safety

A Comprehensive Guide to Bike Safety

You might feel unstoppable on your bike, but unfortunately, you’re not. Don’t forget that the road is shared with other vehicles too—even if you’re being safe, that doesn’t mean that everyone else is, too. That’s why bike safety is so important.

Bike Safety guide

Learning about bike safety will take a few minutes of your time. But it’s really worthwhile.

Once learned, bike safety rules will stay with you forever. 

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about bike safety, including clothing, gear, maneuvers, riding skills, road principles, and road safety tips.

​Are you ready to conquer the roads and trails?

If yes, it’s time to dig deeper.

You might feel unstoppable on your bike, but unfortunately, you’re not. Don’t forget that the road is shared with other vehicles too—even if you’re being safe, that doesn’t mean that everyone else is, too. That’s why bike safety is so important.
Learning about bike safety will take a few minutes of your time. But it’s really worthwhile. Once learned, bike safety rules will stay with you forever.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about bike safety, including clothing, gear, maneuvers, riding skills, road principles, and road safety tips.
Are you ready to conquer the roads and trails?
If yes, it’s time to dig deeper.

Why Bike Safety Is Important

Why Bike Safety Is Important

Why Bike Safety Is Important

​Riding a bike is a wonderful outdoor activity – it’s a combination of exercise and fun.

However, it also comes with various risks.

From minor crashes with bruises and scrapes to serious accidents resulting in head injuries, broken bones, and even fatalities, cycling can have serious consequences if you’re not prepared.

Bicycle safety

Among bicycle injuries, head injuries are the most serious ones – the number one cause of death. Various head injuries may also cause permanent damage to the brain.

Here’s the proof:

  • ​Each year, over 500,000 bicyclists in the U.S. are injured due to bike crashes. Around 700 of them die, but 75% of them could have lived if they had worn a helmet, according to Northwestern Medicine.
    Each year, over 500,000 bicyclists in the U.S. are injured due to bike crashes. Around 700 of them die, but 75% of them could have lived if they had worn a helmet, according to Northwestern Medicine.
  • ​In 2010, 515,000 injuries were caused by bicycle incidents that required immediate care, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    In 2010, 515,000 injuries were caused by bicycle incidents that required immediate care, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • ​In 2015, over 1,000 bicyclists lost their lives in the U.S. In the same year, 467,000 injuries were reported, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..
    In 2015, over 1,000 bicyclists lost their lives in the U.S. In the same year, 467,000 injuries were reported, according to https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/bicycle/index.html
  • ​88% of bicyclists who died because of a crash were 20 years old or older, according to research collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Loss Data Institute.
    88% of bicyclists who died because of a crash were 20 years old or older, according to research collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Loss Data Institute.
  • ​The majority of bicyclists injured in 2014 were between the ages of twenty and twenty-four years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    The majority of bicyclists injured in 2014 were between the ages of twenty and twenty-four years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

​These statistics prove that you need to wear a helmet. Though a helmet may help you prevent brain injuries, you must consider wearing other items of protective gear to ensure bike safety in terms of protecting the entire body.

Here are things to think about:

Helmet – when you fall off your bike, your head could be the first part of your body to touch the road. If you’re wearing a helmet, it will act as a shield for your head and reduce the chances of brain injury.

Gloves – we instinctively use our hands to help ourselves in case we experience a sudden fall. In case of a fall, you’ll unconsciously use your hands to cushion the crash. In this scenario, if you aren’t wearing bike gloves, you’ll probably injure your hands as they scrape against the road.

Clothing – protective jackets, trousers, and shoes will help protect you from scrapes and bruises.


Remember That

​Bike safety isn’t limited to wearing the right clothing. If you know the rules of the road, you can save yourself from a major crash.

Likewise, if you’re involved in an accident, having prior knowledge about the immediate action to take can help you save your life.

Riding a bike is a wonderful outdoor activity – it’s a combination of exercise and fun. However, it also comes with various risks. From minor crashes with bruises and scrapes to serious accidents resulting in head injuries, broken bones, and even fatalities, cycling can have serious consequences if you’re not prepared.
Among bicycle injuries, head injuries are the most serious ones – the number one cause of death. Various head injuries may also cause permanent damage to the brain.
Here’s the proof:


​Basic Bike Check

Basic Bike Check

​Nobody wants to be in another accident shortly after crashing their bike. That’s why it’s crucial to check if your bike is functional enough to ride.

In this section, you’ll learn how to check the functionality of your bike after a crash so you can ride safely.

  • ​Air
    Air
  • ​Brakes
    Brakes
  • ​Cranks and Chain
    Cranks and Chain
  • ​Release Levers
    Quick Release Levers
  • ​Headset
    Headset
  • ​Handlebar
    Handlebar
  • ​Bike Lights
    Bike Lights
  • ​Saddle
    Saddle

​The seat post shouldn’t be loose. If it’s loose, tighten your seat post clamp with an allen key.

Give it another check to ensure the seat is tightened correctly.

The seat post shouldn’t be loose. If it’s loose, tighten your seat post clamp with an allen key. Give it another check to ensure the seat is tightened correctly.
Nobody wants to be in another accident shortly after crashing their bike. That’s why it’s crucial to check if your bike is functional enough to ride.
In this section, you’ll learn how to check the functionality of your bike after a crash so you can ride safely.

​Safety Equipment

Safety Equipment

​Most people don’t imagine driving a car without seat belts. So, why should you hop on your bike without choosing the perfect attire?

bike accessories

​To ensure maximum safety, you need to protect your body from head to toe.

This section has it all. Read on!

​Helmet:

Between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists died in a bike crash. 97% of them were not wearing a helmet, according to a survey conducted by the New York City Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The significance of wearing a helmet cannot be emphasized enough.

It’s essential to consider some key features when buying a helmet:

Ventilation

prefer the helmet with more vents. This will keep you cooler.

Retention system and straps

once fastened, the strap’s chin area and the buckle should fit well beneath the chin.

However, the retention system shouldn’t be so tight that you’re unable to drink water or eat an energy bar while riding.

Padding

This helps in absorbing sweat. Prefer the helmet with removable padding so you can also wash it often.

Size

choose a helmet that fits your head. To get the perfect size, wrap a tape measure around your head (place the tape measure about 1 inch above the eyebrows).

Now measure its length with a yardstick or a ruler. 

Now that you’ve got the measurement of your head, you can buy the helmet with the right size.

prefer the helmet with more vents. This will keep you cooler.
Ventilation
once fastened, the strap’s chin area and the buckle should fit well beneath the chin. However, the retention system shouldn’t be so tight that you’re unable to drink water or eat an energy bar while riding.
Retention system and straps
Between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists died in a bike crash. 97% of them were not wearing a helmet, according to a survey conducted by the New York City Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene. The significance of wearing a helmet cannot be emphasized enough.
It’s essential to consider some key features when buying a helmet:

Helmet
Most people don’t imagine driving a car without seat belts. So, why should you hop on your bike without choosing the perfect attire?
To ensure maximum safety, you need to protect your body from head to toe. This section has it all. Read on!

Padding
this helps in absorbing sweat. Prefer the helmet with removable padding so you can also wash it often.

Size
choose a helmet that fits your head. To get the perfect size, wrap a tape measure around your head (place the tape measure about 1 inch above the eyebrows). Now measure its length with a yardstick or a ruler. Now that you’ve got the measurement of your head, you can buy the helmet with the right size.

Gloves:

Gloves:

Gloves are great for safety and grip. Even during summers, don't ditch this important accessory. Pick gloves with cut-finger style. Some of these have padded leather (or synthetic material) in the palm to keep your hands comfortable.

The fabric absorbs moisture to keep your hands from sweating.

For cold weather, get fully covered, breathable, wicking bike gloves to protect your hands from freezing. If it's too chilly outside, don't hesitate in covering your hands with a thin liner before putting on your gloves.

Gloves are great for safety and grip. Even during summers, don't ditch this important accessory. Pick gloves with cut-finger style. Some of these have padded leather (or synthetic material) in the palm to keep your hands comfortable. The fabric absorbs moisture to keep your hands from sweating.
For cold weather, get fully covered, breathable, wicking bike gloves to protect your hands from freezing. If it's too chilly outside, don't hesitate in covering your hands with a thin liner before putting on your gloves.

Sunglasses:

Sunglasses:

Sunglasses protect you from wind hitting directly on your eyes, insects, overhanging branches, and road grit.

Here's what you need to look for when investing in the right sunglasses for biking:

  • Lens: Choose the lens carefully as different tints may offer a different set of benefits. For instance, photochromic lenses protect your eyes against UV lights and distortion-free lenses keep vision as clear as possible.
    Lens: Choose the lens carefully as different tints may offer a different set of benefits. For instance, photochromic lenses protect your eyes against UV lights and distortion-free lenses keep vision as clear as possible.
  • Frame: Pick sunglasses with good lens retention. Sports glasses are usually made of this heavy-duty polymer material, which doesn’t only keep the frames from breaking but also keeps them lightweight.
    Frame: Pick sunglasses with good lens retention. Sports glasses are usually made of this heavy-duty polymer material, which doesn’t only keep the frames from breaking but also keeps them lightweight.
  • Arms: Regardless of the type of arms you choose, they should perfectly grip the head without pinching. Rubber pads are a great option as they come with ventilation ports that keep the grip without compromising on comfort.
    Arms: Regardless of the type of arms you choose, they should perfectly grip the head without pinching. Rubber pads are a great option as they come with ventilation ports that keep the grip without compromising on comfort.
  • Nose Bridge: You can pick a nose bridge with a pair of pads or just a single band. Pay attention to its adjustability. It will keep your glasses from slipping down when you start sweating. 
    Nose Bridge: You can pick a nose bridge with a pair of pads or just a single band. Pay attention to its adjustability. It will keep your glasses from slipping down when you start sweating. 
Sunglasses protect you from wind hitting directly on your eyes, insects, overhanging branches, and road grit.

Road Principles

Ride on the right

Ride on the right
 Road Principles

Riding in the middle of the road or on the sidewalk is unsafe. Ride in the same direction as traffic hile staying on the right side of the road.

Road Principles

Make sure that you don’t ride on such an extreme right side of the road that you unexpectedly hit the curb.

Also, you’ll come across situations in which you’re unable to ride on the far right because because you need to avoid a hazard.

In such a scenario, wait for a safe opportunity and use hand signals while taking a lane.

If the road is narrow, join traffic (but only if you follow the rules)

Sometimes you’ll notice that the road you’re riding on is too narrow to accommodate a car and a bike. This is when you should take the lane and join traffic.

However, this could be extremely dangerous if you fail to follow some specific rules. 

Do this ONLY if you follow these rules:

  • ​Join other vehicles BEFORE an intersection. This way you can show them your presence – especially to those drivers who are going to turn right; they may not notice you while starting their turn.
    Join other vehicles BEFORE an intersection. This way you can show them your presence – especially to those drivers who are going to turn right; they may not notice you while starting their turn.
  • ​Have the same level of speed as that of the other vehicles (when possible).
    Have the same level of speed as that of the other vehicles (when possible).
Ride on the right

Riding in the middle of the road or on the sidewalk is unsafe. Ride in the same direction as traffic hile staying on the right side of the road. Make sure that you don’t ride on such an extreme right side of the road that you unexpectedly hit the curb. Also, you’ll come across situations in which you’re unable to ride on the far right because because you need to avoid a hazard. In such a scenario, wait for a safe opportunity and use hand signals while taking a lane.

If the road is narrow, join traffic (but only if you follow the rules)

Sometimes you’ll notice that the road you’re riding on is too narrow to accommodate a car and a bike. This is when you should take the lane and join traffic. However, this could be extremely dangerous if you fail to follow some specific rules. Do this ONLY if you follow these rules:

​Ride straight

Ride straight

​Ride predictably and consistently.

For example, when you’re riding at an intersection, never enter the crosswalk and then reappear on the road all of a sudden. If you re-emerge into a busy road, car drivers might not notice you. 

Ride predictably and consistently. For example, when you’re riding at an intersection, never enter the crosswalk and then reappear on the road all of a sudden. If you re-emerge into a busy road, car drivers might not notice you.

​Yield to traffic in busier lanes

Yield to traffic in busier lanes

​When you’re about to reach a new, larger road, yield to the traffic that is crossing by you.

Likewise, when you move from the side or want to change lanes, yield to traffic.

When you’re about to reach a new, larger road, yield to the traffic that is crossing by you.
Likewise, when you move from the side or want to change lanes, yield to traffic.

​Yield to traffic in your destination lane

Yield to traffic in your destination lane

​When you’re about to cross an intersection, keep in mind your destination.

For instance, if you aim for the right turn, stay focused on this direction and keep riding on the right. 

If you aim for the left turn, stay on the left. Similarly, if you want to take the straight route, ride between these positions.

When you’re about to cross an intersection, keep in mind your destination. For instance, if you aim for the right turn, stay focused on this direction and keep riding on the right. If you aim for the left turn, stay on the left. Similarly, if you want to take the straight route, ride between these positions.

​Maintain speed and positioning

Maintain speed and positioning

​While you’re riding between intersections, adjust your speed according to the traffic.

​Consider extra precautions when riding at night

Consider extra precautions when riding at night

​Riding a bike at night is different than riding at daylight hours. Even if you’re heading to a familiar road, you must ensure your reflectors and lights are functioning well.

To do this, follow these tips:

  • ​Add a white light on your bike’s front. Required by law, this light will help you see the road from afar so you can avoid any hazard as soon as you identify it. At 15 mph, a front light enables you to see the road from 35 to 50 feet ahead of you.
    Add a white light on your bike’s front. Required by law, this light will help you see the road from afar so you can avoid any hazard as soon as you identify it. At 15 mph, a front light enables you to see the road from 35 to 50 feet ahead of you.
  • ​Other drivers may hardly see your bike at night. To avoid getting hit by them, wear reflective leg bands or a vest while biking. Also, add additional flashing lights and pedal reflectors to the bike so you can be identified in the darkness. 
    Other drivers may hardly see your bike at night. To avoid getting hit by them, wear reflective leg bands or a vest while biking. Also, add additional flashing lights and pedal reflectors to the bike so you can be identified in the darkness.
Riding a bike at night is different than riding at daylight hours. Even if you’re heading to a familiar road, you must ensure your reflectors and lights are functioning well. To do this, follow these tips:

​In winter, prepare yourself beforehand

In winter, prepare yourself beforehand

​The exertion caused from riding a bike in winters will keep you warm and active. You’ll love to explore new roads in this chilly weather.

However, with fun also comes some serious work – preparing yourself for the winter ride.

Before riding in winters, consider these points:

  • ​The heat released from traffic clears the roads that were covered with ice and snow. Such roads are said to be ideal paths for car drivers. However, the sides of the roads will stay covered with snow – this is something to be aware of, because you’ll be the one riding your bike on those sides of the roads. The solution is to find the roads on which there is sufficient traffic to clear the ice and snow. But the traffic shouldn’t be so heavy that you’re unable to ride your bike comfortably on the same roads. Choose your routes wisely.
    The heat released from traffic clears the roads that were covered with ice and snow. Such roads are said to be ideal paths for car drivers. However, the sides of the roads will stay covered with snow – this is something to be aware of, because you’ll be the one riding your bike on those sides of the roads. The solution is to find the roads on which there is sufficient traffic to clear the ice and snow. But the traffic shouldn’t be so heavy that you’re unable to ride your bike comfortably on the same roads. Choose your routes wisely.
  • ​While riding on snowy roads, your bike will need better traction. To make this possible, use less air in the tires. If you’re riding in winter for the first time, it’s recommended to talk to an experienced winter rider before your first ride.
    While riding on snowy roads, your bike will need better traction. To make this possible, use less air in the tires. If you’re riding in winter for the first time, it’s recommended to talk to an experienced winter rider before your first ride.
  • ​On icy roads, maintain a slower speed. If your front wheel starts to skid, stay calm; you almost certainly won’t go down if you stay loose and let the bike grab the road after the slip.
    On icy roads, maintain a slower speed. If your front wheel starts to skid, stay calm; you almost certainly won’t go down if you stay loose and let the bike grab the road after the slip.
  • ​Always apply the brake lightly. Also, remember that you will take more time to stop. If you’re not familiar with winter riding, practice braking lightly and far in advance of your stop. Take some time and try applying a brake lightly on slight hills. You’ll get an idea about the level of pressure you should use to slow yourself without locking your wheels up. 
    Always apply the brake lightly. Also, remember that you will take more time to stop. If you’re not familiar with winter riding, practice braking lightly and far in advance of your stop. Take some time and try applying a brake lightly on slight hills. You’ll get an idea about the level of pressure you should use to slow yourself without locking your wheels up.
Before riding in winters, consider these points:

​While riding in rain, pay attention to how you apply the brake

While riding in rain, pay attention to how you apply the brake

​If the weather suddenly turns wet, cope with it like a pro. When it rains, slowing down may take longer.

Slowly apply the brake even before you normally do in a dry weather.

By acting proactively, you can get ample time to slow and stop while also avoiding slipping on the wet road.

If the weather suddenly turns wet, cope with it like a pro. When it rains, slowing down may take longer. Slowly apply the brake even before you normally do in a dry weather. By acting proactively, you can get ample time to slow and stop while also avoiding slipping on the wet road.

​When riding in a group, be extra cautious

When riding in a group, be extra cautious

​Whether it’s just you and your best friend riding together or a whole riding club of passionate bike riders, you must follow these rules:

  • ​Maintain a 12-inch distance from your own shoulder to your friend’s shoulder who is riding next to you.
    Maintain a 12-inch distance from your own shoulder to your friend’s shoulder who is riding next to you.
  • ​Only shout about any major bumps or hazards on the road when it’s extremely necessary. If you shout out to fellow riders about the minor obstacles, they’ll get used to it and might not bother to pay attention. The best bet is to let the rider at the front to be responsible for informing other riders about any upcoming hazards.
    Only shout about any major bumps or hazards on the road when it’s extremely necessary. If you shout out to fellow riders about the minor obstacles, they’ll get used to it and might not bother to pay attention. The best bet is to let the rider at the front to be responsible for informing other riders about any upcoming hazards.
Whether it’s just you and your best friend riding together or a whole riding club of passionate bike riders, you must follow these rules:

​Other Safety Considerations​​​​​

Other Safety Considerations

​Put down the phone

Put down the phone

​Answering a phone call or listening to music on a bike is dangerous.

Don’t let distractions take away your focus from the road.

Ensure your phone is in silent mode. Even if the call is important, you always have the option to call back later.

Safety Considerations
Answering a phone call or listening to music on a bike is dangerous. Don’t let distractions take away your focus from the road. Ensure your phone is in silent mode. Even if the call is important, you always have the option to call back later.

​Stay out of driver’s blind spots

Stay out of driver’s blind spots

​Blind spots are areas on the roads large vehicle drivers are unable to see even from the rear view mirror.

The windows, headrests, and windscreen frames of large vehicles (such as trucks and vans) are designed in a way that limits drivers’ ability view others (including bike riders) who are sharing the same road.

As a bike rider, it’s up to you to be aware and stay out of driver’s blind spots.

To stay safe, follow these points:

  • ​Assume that truck and other vehicle drivers haven’t noticed your presence. This is especially true if you’re riding on the right and want to overtake a truck.
    Assume that truck and other vehicle drivers haven’t noticed your presence. This is especially true if you’re riding on the right and want to overtake a truck.
  • ​If you’re riding on the left alongside a truck, this is highly risky because your bike cannot be seen by the truck driver even from the side mirrors. In this situation, stay away from the truck as much as you can or escape onto a footpath.
    If you’re riding on the left alongside a truck, this is highly risky because your bike cannot be seen by the truck driver even from the side mirrors. In this situation, stay away from the truck as much as you can or escape onto a footpath.
To stay safe, follow these points:

​Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars

Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars

​After several months of riding on the roads, you may feel like a pro!

However, keep in mind that emergencies happen without forewarning. Stay proactive by never letting your hand go away from the handlebar.

After several months of riding on the roads, you may feel like a pro! However, keep in mind that emergencies happen without forewarning. Stay proactive by never letting your hand go away from the handlebar.

​Signal well

Signal well

​Signaling a turn or a stop enables you to communicate with other vehicle drivers about your directions.

To avoid any collision, know the signs of signaling beforehand:

Signaling a turn or a stop enables you to communicate with other vehicle drivers about your directions. To avoid any collision, know the signs of signaling beforehand:
  • ​To signal a right turn, stretch your right arm towards the right direction.
    To signal a right turn, stretch your right arm towards the right direction.
  • ​To signal a left turn, stretch your left arm towards the left direction.
    To signal a left turn, stretch your left arm towards the left direction.
  • ​While signaling a stop, lower your left arm (with the palm open and facing back) in a way that it’s visible to the traffic behind you.
    While signaling a stop, lower your left arm (with the palm open and facing back) in a way that it’s visible to the traffic behind you.

​Stay visible

Stay visible

If vehicle drivers are able to see you, you’re less likely to be hit. Be visible by wearing bright clothes.

While biking in darker hours, use front and rear lights so you can be visible from every direction.

If vehicle drivers are able to see you, you’re less likely to be hit. Be visible by wearing bright clothes. While biking in darker hours, use front and rear lights so you can be visible from every direction.

​Travel with a mini tool kit

Travel with a mini tool kit

​You checked your wheels and brakes before heading towards your destination.

But what if the bike starts acting up in the middle of a quiet road?

Combat with this unexpected situation by fixing the flat tire or a broken chain on the spot. All this requires is carrying essentials such as a patch kit, a spare tube, a bike pump, tire levers, and a multi-tool.

You checked your wheels and brakes before heading towards your destination. But what if the bike starts acting up in the middle of a quiet road? Combat with this unexpected situation by fixing the flat tire or a broken chain on the spot. All this requires is carrying essentials such as a patch kit, a spare tube, a bike pump, tire levers, and a multi-tool.

​Improve Your Riding Skills​​​​​

​Learn about the gears

Learn about the gears
Improve Your Riding Skills

​Most bikes have a number of gears. This helps you pedal consistently in all situations – whether you’re approaching uphill or aim to move to a straight road.

Riding Skills​​​​​
  • ​Front gears are located near the right pedal. Use these to make bigger shifts, for instance, while approaching a hill (where you’ll want to shift down).
    Front gears are located near the right pedal. Use these to make bigger shifts, for instance, while approaching a hill (where you’ll want to shift down).
  • ​Back gears are located near your rear wheel. Use these when the terrain requires smaller changes in resistance.
    Back gears are located near your rear wheel. Use these when the terrain requires smaller changes in resistance.

​If you’re new to shifting gears, it’s wise to get familiarized with the gears beforehand. Head to an open road (without any vehicles to distract you).

Practice shifting the front as well as the back gears. Get better at shifting gears by repeating the action several times.

​Steer with your body

​You might think that the handlebars perform the steering of your bike. However, it’s actually your body that does the steering!

To avoid clumsy and casual turns, it’s essential to learn how to use your body movements to do the steering.

Instead of just moving the handlebars, slightly steer your front wheel by leaning just a bit. If done successfully, you’ll notice that the turn is smoother and tighter.

​Excel at the art of riding with a single hand

​earning single-handed riding will help you become an ace rider. Once you’ve successfully built confidence to ride with only one hand, you can easily use your other hand to grab a water bottle, eat a healthy snack, and signal while you’re on the road.

​Know which brake to use and when

​If you’re about to approach a roundabout or reach a corner, use the back brake. This will reduce your speed. After this, you can use the front brake when you want to stop immediately.

Before using the brake, remember that the back brake is for lowering the speed and the front brake is for stopping immediately. If you see a clear junction, do not use your front brake. Just using the back brake will do the trick.

However, if you see yourself in a tighter traffic where you need to stop the bike as soon as you can, use the front brake.

​Different Ways to Avoid Collision​

​You’re following the traffic laws. For instance, you’re riding on the right.

But what if you fail to see a car that’s already on the extreme right?

What will you do if the driver opens the door on the left (without seeing you) and unintentionally hits you?

That’s when you should go beyond following the traffic laws: it’s time to go an extra mile and prepare yourself not to get hit at all.

To avoid collisions, it’s important to know the types of collisions and protect yourself accordingly. Here are some essential tips to stay safe from each type of collision:

  • 1
    The Right Cross
    The Right Cross

​You’re going on a straight road. At the same time, a car comes from the parking lot, driveway, or the side street on the right and hits you.

The Right Cross

How to Avoid It

​Install a headlight: At night, make sure your bike has a front light. In daytime riding, vehicles may right-cross you if they don’t see you. That’s why you should add a flashing, bright, white LED headlight to your bike so you can be clearly visible.

​Headlamps (mounted on the helmet) are great; when you look at the vehicle driver, you’ll be sure that they see you.

Grab the driver’s attention: To get the driver’s attention, wave to him/her so they can see your bike and may slow down. Another option is to use a horn. If they still don’t see you, it’s okay to yell, “Hey!”

Slow down: If the driver fails to see you and picks up speed, concentrate on your own speed. You should either slow down or immediately stop.

Move to the left: If a car is coming from the intersection and is more likely to right-cross you, it’s advisable to move to the left.

This way, the driver will be able to see you and may stop. While moving to the left, also stay alert about where the flow of rest of the traffic is coming from and act accordingly.

  • 2
    ​The Door Prize​
    The Door Prize

​If the driver of a parked car suddenly opens the door (without knowing a bike is coming from behind) and your bike unexpectedly hits the door.

The Door Prize

How to Avoid It

If the car is parked and the car driver opens the door, he has probably done this because he didn’t see you.

The best bet is to ride proactively. Instead of riding too close to the car lane, ride a bit to the left so you’re confident that the car door will not hit you as it opens.

  • 3
    ​The Crosswalk Slam
    The Crosswalk Slam

​You’re crossing the street or riding on a sidewalk.

The Crosswalk Slam

Suddenly, a car appears making a right turn. This mostly happens because drivers don’t expect bikes crossing the road.

Secondly, since they’re focusing on turning the vehicle from the first street to the next street, they’ll hardly notice your bike – therefore, you have higher chances to get hit.

​Riding a bike on the sidewalk can be twice as dangerous as riding on the road, according to a study.

How to Avoid It

Besides using a front headlight and slowing down, eliminate the habit of crossing the road between sidewalks.

Doing this while riding on the left may lead you to get hit.

Likewise, riding on the sidewalk on the right will get you hit by the car that’s behind you and is taking a right turn.

If, for any reason (e.g. in case of an emergency), crossing a road on the sidewalk is the only option left, check all directions of traffic (even the vehicles that are behind you) and ride slowly.  

  • 4
    ​The Wrong-Way Wreck
    The Wrong-Way Wreck

​This type of collision occurs when you’re riding either against the flow of traffic or on the left side of the road. As you ride, a car appears from the side street and naturally turns right and hits you. The car driver didn’t see your bike because he wasn’t expecting you as you were heading from the wrong way of traffic.

The Wrong-Way Wreck

In another scenario, choosing the wrong way may make you a victim of the cars coming to you from the straight road. This may happen because these car drivers had chosen high speed while driving on a straight road.

Again, they were also not expecting you because your bike is moving towards them – and that too is unexpected.

How to Avoid It

Instead of riding against traffic, ride with the flow – i.e. within the same direction as other vehicles are moving.

  • 5
    ​The Red Light Of Death
    The Red Light Of Death

As you see the red signal light, you stop. Another car is also waiting besides your bike. The car driver can’t see you because you’re at the blind spot.

The Red Light of Death

Otherwise you’ll end up having the same collision (this time around, the second car would hit you if you’re behind the first car but still on the right side of the second car).

As the red light gets green, you naturally move forward. At the same time, the car driver turns right and directly hits you. This collision mostly happens when it’s a bus or any other large vehicle.

How to Avoid It

Instead of stopping beside the vehicle, stop behind it. This way, the car driver will be able to see you and will not hit you.

Red Light of Death

​However, also ensure that the second car (the car behind the first one) is also able to see you.

  • 6
    ​The Right Hook – Part 1
    The Right Hook – Part 1

​A car overtakes you and then turns right in front of your bike. As you’re also riding in the same direction, the car immediately hits you.

The Right Hook

This collision may happen because the car driver may assume that you aren’t riding too fast and he thinks that he would go ahead of you safely.

It’s harder to avoid this collision because you see the car coming in front of you in a second and there is no way to respond to this situation right at the moment.

How to Avoid It

Ride in the lane: When you’re about to go through the intersection, ride to the left so you can take the entire lane. This is important to stay safe from the car that will turn right and in front of you.

​Glance in the handlebar mirror before considering an intersection: Don’t have one? Get it now. Look into your mirror before heading towards an intersection.

​Once done, pay attention to the road ahead of you. Is any car taking a right turn and might come in front of you?

  • 7
    The Right Hook – Part2
    The Right Hook – Part 2

​There is a slow-moving vehicle besides you. You’re naturally passing this vehicle, but suddenly, the same vehicle turns right to the side street and hits you.

Right Hook

How to Avoid It

If the vehicle is a bit ahead of your bike and is too slow, you should slow down as well.

Instead of passing on its right side, pass on the left after observing that it’s safe enough to take this step.

  • 8
    ​The Left Cross
    The Left Cross

​A vehicle coming towards your bike turns left and hits you as the driver did not see you.

The Left Cross

How to Avoid It

Don’t choose the sidewalk: When you want to cross a street and you ride on the sidewalk, you’re actually invisible to the vehicles who are in front of you. Therefore, avoid riding on the sidewalk.

Slow down: if making eye contact with the driver seems impossible, slow down till you completely stop. Though this is inconvenient, it may save you from getting hit.

  • 9
    ​The Rear End – Part 1
    The Rear End – Part 1

​To avoid any road obstruction, you moved your bike a bit to the left but you get hit by the vehicle coming from behind.

The Rear End

How to Avoid It

Never move left unless you’ve checked the car behind you: Practice riding in a straight line. If you want to know if a car is behind you without turning back, use your handlebar mirror.

Rear End

Always signal before moving left: Inform the car drivers behind you that you’re moving to the left. Do this by stretching your left arm straight. While doing so, check again to see if there is a car coming from behind.

  • 10
    ​The Rear End – Part 2
    The Rear End – Part 2

​A car hits your bike from behind.

The Rear End 2

How to Avoid It

Always use the rear light: this is mostly applicable for nighttime riding.

 Wear reflective gear: be visible to the car drivers behind you – even at daytime.

 Ride on wide streets: a wide street can easily accommodate a bike and a car at the same time. Choosing such streets will minimize the chances of getting hit.

Choose back streets: ride on neighborhood streets and stay safe.

​Steps to Take If Involved in an Accident​

​If hit by a car, truck, or any other vehicle, the accident could be a bad one and the only thing that can save you is an instant response.

​The following are six important steps to take if your bike gets into an accident.

​Step 1: Don't assume you aren’t injured

Step 1: Don't assume you aren’t injured

​Step 2: Involve police

Step 2: Involve police

​Step 3: Get the driver's information

Step 3: Get the driver's information

​Step 4: Get information from a witness

Step 4: Get information from a witness

​Step 5: Gather as much evidence as possible

Step 5: Gather as much evidence as possible

​Step 6: See a doctor immediately

Step 6: See a doctor immediately

​Now that you’re aware of the bike safety principles, you’re ready to ride. Don’t limit these guidelines to yourself only. Your friends deserve to be safe, too.

Don’t wait. Spread the word and ride on!

​Resources and Further Reading

Resources and Further Reading
Now that you’re aware of the bike safety principles, you’re ready to ride. Don’t limit these guidelines to yourself only. Your friends deserve to be safe, too. Don’t wait. Spread the word and ride on!
If hit by a car, truck, or any other vehicle, the accident could be a bad one and the only thing that can save you is an instant response.  
The following are six important steps to take if your bike gets into an accident.

Steps to Take If Involved in an Accident
A car hits your bike from behind.
How to Avoid It
Always use the rear light: this is mostly applicable for nighttime riding.
Wear reflective gear: be visible to the car drivers behind you – even at daytime.
Ride on wide streets: a wide street can easily accommodate a bike and a car at the same time. Choosing such streets will minimize the chances of getting hit.
Choose back streets: ride on neighborhood streets and stay safe.
To avoid any road obstruction, you moved your bike a bit to the left but you get hit by the vehicle coming from behind.
How to Avoid It
Never move left unless you’ve checked the car behind you: Practice riding in a straight line. If you want to know if a car is behind you without turning back, use your handlebar mirror.
Always signal before moving left: Inform the car drivers behind you that you’re moving to the left. Do this by stretching your left arm straight. While doing so, check again to see if there is a car coming from behind.
How to Avoid It
Don’t choose the sidewalk: When you want to cross a street and you ride on the sidewalk, you’re actually invisible to the vehicles who are in front of you. Therefore, avoid riding on the sidewalk.
Slow down: if making eye contact with the driver seems impossible, slow down till you completely stop. Though this is inconvenient, it may save you from getting hit.
There is a slow-moving vehicle besides you. You’re naturally passing this vehicle, but suddenly, the same vehicle turns right to the side street and hits you.
How to Avoid It
If the vehicle is a bit ahead of your bike and is too slow, you should slow down as well. Instead of passing on its right side, pass on the left after observing that it’s safe enough to take this step.

A car overtakes you and then turns right in front of your bike. As you’re also riding in the same direction, the car immediately hits you. This collision may happen because the car driver may assume that you aren’t riding too fast and he thinks that he would go ahead of you safely. It’s harder to avoid this collision because you see the car coming in front of you in a second and there is no way to respond to this situation right at the moment.
How to Avoid It
Ride in the lane: When you’re about to go through the intersection, ride to the left so you can take the entire lane. This is important to stay safe from the car that will turn right and in front of you.
Glance in the handlebar mirror before considering an intersection: don’t have one? Get it now. Look into your mirror before heading towards an intersection. Once done, pay attention to the road ahead of you. Is any car taking a right turn and might come in front of you?
As you see the red signal light, you stop. Another car is also waiting besides your bike. The car driver can’t see you because you’re at the blind spot. As the red light gets green, you naturally move forward. At the same time, the car driver turns right and directly hits you. This collision mostly happens when it’s a bus or any other large vehicle.
How to Avoid It
Instead of stopping beside the vehicle, stop behind it. This way, the car driver will be able to see you and will not hit you.
However, also ensure that the second car (the car behind the first one) is also able to see you. Otherwise you’ll end up having the same collision (this time around, the second car would hit you if you’re behind the first car but still on the right side of the second car).

This type of collision occurs when you’re riding either against the flow of traffic or on the left side of the road. As you ride, a car appears from the side street and naturally turns right and hits you. The car driver didn’t see your bike because he wasn’t expecting you as you were heading from the wrong way of traffic.
In another scenario, choosing the wrong way may make you a victim of the cars coming to you from the straight road. This may happen because these car drivers had chosen high speed while driving on a straight road. Again, they were also not expecting you because your bike is moving towards them – and that too is unexpected.
How to Avoid It
Instead of riding against traffic, ride with the flow – i.e. within the same direction as other vehicles are moving.

How to Avoid It
Besides using a front headlight and slowing down, eliminate the habit of crossing the road between sidewalks. Doing this while riding on the left may lead you to get hit. Likewise, riding on the sidewalk on the right will get you hit by the car that’s behind you and is taking a right turn.
If, for any reason (e.g. in case of an emergency), crossing a road on the sidewalk is the only option left, check all directions of traffic (even the vehicles that are behind you) and ride slowly.  

If the car is parked and the car driver opens the door, he has probably done this because he didn’t see you. The best bet is to ride proactively. Instead of riding too close to the car lane, ride a bit to the left so you’re confident that the car door will not hit you as it opens.
How to Avoid It
You’re going on a straight road. At the same time, a car comes from the parking lot, driveway, or the side street on the right and hits you.
You’re following the traffic laws. For instance, you’re riding on the right. But what if you fail to see a car that’s already on the extreme right? What will you do if the driver opens the door on the left (without seeing you) and unintentionally hits you? That’s when you should go beyond following the traffic laws: it’s time to go an extra mile and prepare yourself not to get hit at all.
To avoid collisions, it’s important to know the types of collisions and protect yourself accordingly. Here are some essential tips to stay safe from each type of collision:

Different Ways to Avoid Collision
If you’re about to approach a roundabout or reach a corner, use the back brake. This will reduce your speed. After this, you can use the front brake when you want to stop immediately.
Before using the brake, remember that the back brake is for lowering the speed and the front brake is for stopping immediately. If you see a clear junction, do not use your front brake. Just using the back brake will do the trick. However, if you see yourself in a tighter traffic where you need to stop the bike as soon as you can, use the front brake.

Know which brake to use and when
earning single-handed riding will help you become an ace rider. Once you’ve successfully built confidence to ride with only one hand, you can easily use your other hand to grab a water bottle, eat a healthy snack, and signal while you’re on the road.
Excel at the art of riding with a single hand
You might think that the handlebars perform the steering of your bike. However, it’s actually your body that does the steering! To avoid clumsy and casual turns, it’s essential to learn how to use your body movements to do the steering.
Instead of just moving the handlebars, slightly steer your front wheel by leaning just a bit. If done successfully, you’ll notice that the turn is smoother and tighter.

Steer with your body
If you’re new to shifting gears, it’s wise to get familiarized with the gears beforehand. Head to an open road (without any vehicles to distract you). Practice shifting the front as well as the back gears. Get better at shifting gears by repeating the action several times.
Most bikes have a number of gears. This helps you pedal consistently in all situations – whether you’re approaching uphill or aim to move to a straight road.
While you’re riding between intersections, adjust your speed according to the traffic.

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