The arrival of spring heralds the end of bitter temperatures and icy pavement. For many, this means that it’s time to dust off the bike and start using it to commute to work—especially if the office is opening up again soon. No matter where you’re commuting, danger lurks around every sharp turn and stop light. Keep these top safety tips for bike commuters in mind as you count down the days until you no longer have to rely on your car or public transportation everywhere you go.
One of the most common issues for city cyclists is the proximity of the bike lane to the parking lane. Drivers or cab passengers may not look for bikes before opening the car door, and if you’re riding fast enough you may not have enough time to react.
Ride your bike as far away from parked vehicles as possible. If you can fathom the door opening on a parked car, slow down and walk past the vehicle carefully. Some signs a car door may be opening include:
It’s best to assume all doors could open at any time.
Helmets aren’t an optional accessory for bike commuters—they’re absolutely essential. Wear one every time you cycle. Cyclists face many dangers on busy city roads; unlike how car commuters have airbags and seatbelts, bikes have no such additional safety features. Without a helmet, a swinging car door or a sudden right-turning vehicle can send you flying—which could cut both your ride and your life short.
When commuting to work, it’s also important to remember to wear brightly colored cycling clothes or outdoor t-shirts. After you finish working, you may have less daylight. Wearing reflective clothing and putting reflective strips on your helmet or bike could mean the difference between a driver ignoring you and seeing you.
Possibly the most important safety tip for bike commuters is to assume that drivers, pedestrians, and even other cyclists cannot see you. The standards you set for yourself to follow traffic laws may not be the standards of other people on the road. Even when you know you have the right of way, slow down and stay cautious of people who either don’t know or don’t care about the traffic laws. Watch out at driveways, parking lots, or alleyway entrances in case of someone suddenly turns right or pulls out into traffic.
Whenever you’re unsure about your safety, ride slowly or get off the bike and walk for a short time. Stay safe this year when you begin commuting by bike to work once again, enjoy the crisp spring air, and equip yourself with the freshest seasonal athletic fashion from Escape Outdoors.
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