Bicycling can be a healthy form of recreation or a cost-effective mode of transportation. However, without proper safety precautions, bicycling can also be dangerous.
According to the National Safety Council, bicycle accidents caused over 1,000 deaths in the United States in 2017. Over two-thirds of those deaths were due to collisions in which both a bicycle and a motor vehicle were involved. There may always be some risk associated with bicycling, but the benefits can outweigh the risks if you practice safe bicycling habits.
Inspect your bicycle
Before each bicycle ride, you should inspect your bicycle. Make sure the seat is locked in place, the tires are properly inflated and the brakes work properly. Sometimes bicycle crashes are caused when a bicyclist loses control of the bike because of malfunctioning parts or damage to the bicycle. Checking your bicycle over for any possible damage can help prevent that damage from causing a collision.
Make sure motorists can see you
Many collisions between bicyclists and motorists are caused by the motorist not seeing the bicyclist. Making sure you are visible when bicycling can help you avoid being hit by a car. You can do this by wearing bright colors and planning to ride only when it is light outside. However, if you must bicycle at night or when light is dim, use a white light on the front of your bike and a red reflector or red light on the back of your bike. Wearing reflective clothing can also help you remain visible to motorists when you bicycle at night.
Obey traffic rules
When you are bicycling on the road, be sure to obey all traffic rules. When on your bicycle, you must follow many of the same rules as you would when driving a motorized vehicle. For example, you must ride in the same direction as motorized traffic, and you must come to a complete stop when you approach a stop sign or other traffic control device.
As a bicyclist, you have a responsibility to behave safely on the road. However, motorists also have a responsibility to behave safely. If you are hit by a car when bicycling, it may be appropriate to take legal action. You may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses and other costs associated with your injuries.