While I’ve been riding a bike casually for years, it really wasn’t until last year that I was riding enough that I learned the do’s and don’ts of the road.
For those of you who are riding this year or even if you are just looking to ride more seriously here are some of the things I’ve learned:
1. Wear a Helmet
See, you’d think this one would be understood – but you’d be surprised. Wear a helmet whenever you’re on your bike. We share the road with cars and in the battle of Car vs Bike and even Bike vs Road – the bike will always lose. Wear a helmet.
2. Turn Signals
Yes, we don’t have blinkers on our bikes – although there is a helmet that can help with that. But even if you have turn signals built into your helmet, you need to know the turn signals you should be using while biking.
When turning to the right: Either put your right arm straight out so it’s parallel to the road, or put your left arm out but bent at the elbow with your hand up.
When turning to the left: Put your left arm strait out so it’s parallel to the road.
When stopping: Put your left arm out but bent at the elbow with your hand down and palm facing the cars/bikes behind you.
3. Callout When Passing
When passing other cyclists or runners make sure you are passing them on the left and callout so they know you’re there. Simply speak clearly and say “on your left.”
It’s a courtesy and also a safety precaution in order to prevent a dangerous collision.
1. Don’t listen to headphones
This one is hard for me, because I love to listen to music while exercising. But when you’re on your bike, listening out for those around you is a crucial safety precaution. Not to mention it’s illegal to have headphones in while you ride and it negates any insurance.
Listening to the wind blow through the trees and connecting with nature is half the pleasure of riding. But if you need the jams along for the ride, just play music off your phone – just don’t use headphones.
2. Don’t ride with more than two people side by side
When I go running it may be the most annoying thing in the world when I’m stuck behind five people walking side-by-side. When you’re riding your bike and people refuse to go single-file (especially when they see someone coming) it’s dangerous on top of being ridiculously rude.
On my most recent training ride I watched a duo force another cyclist off the road because they refused to go single-file. Be safe and courteous.
3. Don’t forget a cell phone
Whether you get a flat, take a fall, or simply get lost, it’s incredibly important to have a way to call for help. That goes without saying – but the other reasons a cell phone is great on a ride?
- Having a camera – I love taking photos along my ride.
- Checking weather – on my most recent ride thunderstorms were called for the afternoon. During the ride the clouds become ominous earlier than I expected. Thanks to my phone I was able to track the storm and plan the rest of my ride accordingly.
- GPS – Not only is this helpful for finding your way, but it also helps track your miles and elevation.
So just to sum up: When you’re on your rides stay safe, be courteous, and have fun!