Bicycle Safety – Have Fun, but Ride Safe
There’s nothing better than a long bicycle ride to make your weekend more enjoyable, but to make sure that your riding remains fun you should always consider safety above all other things. When I think of any injury I’ve had on a bicycle over the years (and I’ve had some doozies) it’s almost always been because I wasn’t paying close enough attention to safety. Instead of having to learn from unpleasant experiences it’s always best to avoid injuries in the first place and put safety at the top of your list.
There are several things to consider when it comes to bicycle safety, including being prepared for the conditions you’re riding in, always wearing a helmet, and wearing appropriate clothing as well. Most people do give some thought to a bicycle helmet, but they don’t give too much thought to the other two factors we’ve mentioned here. If you want to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride you should consider all of these things before heading out.
Being prepared for a bicycle ride may mean accepting that you simply can’t go out riding because of the unacceptable conditions outside. It’s almost impossible to ride a bicycle in a snowstorm and it is probably something you want to avoid but, believe it or not, I’ve seen more than one person struggling through the snow on a bicycle and wondered what on earth they were thinking. While it may seem like common sense, you also probably shouldn’t go for a bike ride if there’s a thunder and lightning storm outside. Being prepared means being prepared to wait until the conditions are appropriate for the bike ride.
The other thing you need to give serious consideration to is making sure that you always stay properly hydrated. Whenever I go for a bike ride I always have a water bottle attached to the water bottle holder on my bike. This is especially important if you’re riding in hot weather, as you can easily become dehydrated when you’re pedaling away on the open pavement. Unfortunately, I see far too many people riding their bikes with no water bottle and this is simply something you shouldn’t do, as it’s very unsafe.
Helmets Aren’t Just for Children
In my jurisdiction helmets are not required for adult riders, but they probably should be. A large percentage of bicycle injuries are the result of people not wearing helmets. It’s such a simple thing to fix you’d think it should be obvious, but unfortunately it’s not. There seems to be a stigma associated with wearing a helmet for adults and, as silly as that sounds when you say it out loud, it’s far too common. This is definitely an attitude that needs to change, so when you’re out riding with a friend and they’re not wearing a helmet, encourage them to do so. It’s best not to be too pushy; as an adult you must make your own decision, but there is nothing wrong with mentioning it.
The Importance of Clothing
The type of clothing you should be wearing while riding a bike may vary depending on the type of riding you’re doing and the type of bicycle you have, but there are some types of clothing that you should avoid on almost any bike ride. Long dresses that can be easily tangled in chains should be avoided at all times, as should loose-fitting pants that can get caught up in your bike’s chain and gear mechanisms as well. In general, tight-fitting clothing that won’t get caught on anything are best, and shorts are always a great idea as well.
Don’t forget to wear a good pair of running shoes as well – loose-fitting sandals may seem appropriate in the summer weather, but they can be dangerous when riding a bicycle. It’s best to make sure you have a secure set of footwear with flat heels.
Safety Can Be Fun
The simple and basic items we’ve mentioned above are easy to implement, but all can have a profound effect on your safe enjoyment of your bicycle. It’s really about simple common sense, and you don’t really have to spend a lot of money to implement a safe riding protocol. Bicycle helmets are not expensive and neither are water bottles. In most cases you’ll already own appropriate clothing and footwear for your rides, so this shouldn’t be a big deal either.