Exploring 5 Top Safety Tips for Summertime Biking and Cycling
The United States has more cars than any other country in the world, at 300 million. That being said, the roads can be a dangerous place for drivers, pedestrians, bikers, and cyclers alike. If you own a bicycle or motorcycle and want to stay safe on the roads this summer, it’s as easy as following some smart yet simple safety tips. Here are just a few important safety tips all bikers and cyclists should keep in mind when traveling the open roads this season.
Protect Your Eyes Properly
Most drivers understand the frustration that occurs when the sun hits your vehicle — and your eyes — at the wrong angle. It can cause a serious reduction in visibility and even cause someone riding a motorcycle or a bike to swerve off the road. About 75% of U.S. adults wear prescription or plano sunglasses, and you can eliminate the risk completely by investing in a high-quality pair for yourself. Of course, you’ll also have to remember to have them with you whenever you’re riding during the daytime since you never know when the sunshine will become too bright and brutal. The median age of the typical motorcycle owner is 47, and if you’re an older rider with existing eyesight problems, you should consider investing in a pair of prescription sunglasses. It seems like a small step, but it can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping the glare out of your eyes so they can focus on the road.
It may seem basic, but so many riders forget the importance of staying hydrated. Not just cyclists, either — while riding a bicycle may be more physically demanding, motorcycle riders often wear heavier gear that contributes to their overheating. In addition to carrying water with you during your ride, make sure you’re aware of your route and know of places you can stop, rest, and refill on water if necessary. And of course, don’t hesitate to sip on something that has electrolytes for an extra boost.
“It is amazing how much drink you can get through on a hot day — drinking two full bottles during a long ride is pretty normal…Using drinks with electrolytes can be a good idea to replace those lost by sweating, which can cause cramping. Packing ice cubes into your bottle before you leave will help keep your drink cool, at least for the first half an hour,” writes Nigel Wynn on Cycling Weekly.
Check Your Gear
Finally, it’s important to systematically check your bike or motorcycle before and after each ride — or at least on a regular basis. In addition to getting your gear tuned up and prepared for the summer riding season, make sure it’s visible from far away and is equipped with proper reflectors for nighttime riding. Remember: just because you can see other vehicles doesn’t mean they can see you.
Wear a Helmet!
No, really, wear a helmet! And if you have kids, it is essential that they see you wearing a helmet every time you ride a bicycle. Helmet hair is a small price to pay for increased safety, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that helmets save lives. While motorists have airbags, seatbelts, and tons of metal protecting them, bicyclists only have fast reflexes and helmets to protect them.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Our last tip: always be sure to follow the rules of the road in your town, county, or state. For instance, most states have laws that require cyclists to use lights when riding at night. Likewise, some urban centers actually prohibit bicyclists from riding on the sidewalks. In addition, if you plan on driving on busy roads, you should always know when you have the right of way, when you need to signal to other drivers, and when you need to stop, look both ways, and yield to traffic. Only when you know these rules can you truly be a safe cyclist.
Ultimately, these tips can keep you safe and cool during each and every one of your summertime rides. Now, go hit the open roads and make the most of the rest of the summer riding season!