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Summer is just around the corner, and as the weather warms up, that means there will be more opportunities to spend time outside. For a lot of people, that means biking instead of driving a car. Biking is a fantastic way to commute and get exercise, but like anytime you hit the road, there’s a certain amount of risk. The more you can do to protect yourself, the better off you’ll be on your bike. Here are a few ways you can stay safe while bike riding this spring and summer.
Wear protective gear
This one may sound obvious, but just 38% of adults who ride bikes say they wear a helmet. Make sure to get a helmet that fits properly and make sure to wear it strapped on during your ride. About two in three cyclist fatalities involve the head or face, and wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a serious injury by up to 85 percent.
It’s also important to wear attire that makes you visible to drivers on the road. Wear reflective gear, especially if you’re riding at night. Cyclists are commonly involved in accidents when people can’t see them because of limited visibility. Wearing bright and reflective clothing will make it easier for others to see you. It’s also important to install reflectors on your bike.
Check your bike before you ride
Just like you’d check your car before a big roadtrip, it’s essential to check your bike before any ride to make sure it’s in good shape. A malfunction could lead to an accident. Check that the tires are fully inflated and test that your gears work. Make sure the reflectors, lights, and chains are all attached and working. The best way to get a quick feel for your bike’s upkeep is by giving it a quick ride around your neighborhood to make sure everything is working correctly.
Know the rules of the road
Bikers have to abide by the rules of the road—and in some cases those rules are unique to cyclists or the location in which you’re riding. Be sure to check out the laws in your state. In any place, riders should signal when turning and stopping to alert others around them. In some states, riders are allowed on sidewalks, but in other places, bike lanes are designed specifically for cyclists.
Ride like you’re in a car
Many cyclists think that some rules of the road don’t apply to them since they’re not in a car. In reality, many of the rules are more important to follow while riding a bike because of your exposure. Follow road signs, know proper hand signals and use them, and limit distractions. Listening to music and talking on the phone or texting can be dangerous and increase your likelihood of a crash. Keep distractions minimal and focus on the road.
If you’re in an accident
Even the safest cyclists take on some risk. If you are in an accident, it’s important to know how to act. Get medical attention immediately. As you consider your recovery, think about chiropractic care. A chiropractor is trained to deal with many of the injuries common after an accident and can build a unique plan that works for you to get you back on your bike again.
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