In the state of Washington, the accident fatality rate for bicyclists is higher than the national average.
That kind of statistic, while sobering, should not keep you off your bike, but rather make you more aware of the safety precautions you can take.
Wearing a helmet
The first step to take toward a safer ride is to wear a helmet, Sizing varies among manufacturers, so when you go helmet shopping, choose one that gives you a proper fit. In addition, always wear bright colors during the day and reflective gear after dark.
Always be alert while riding your bike and anticipate what motorists and pedestrians might do. As a bicyclist, you are always in defensive driving mode, and you want to be able to take evasive action if necessary. So often after a vehicle-bicycle crash, a motorist will say that he “just didn’t see the bike.” Plan your route and ride where others expect to see you.
Bicyclist fatalities occur most often in urban areas between the hours of 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm. To decrease your risk, keep the following in mind:
- Choose to ride where there is less traffic and speed limits are lower
- Always ride with the flow of traffic
- Obey all traffic laws, signals and street signs
- Do not use your cell phone in order to limit distractions
- Signal and look over your shoulder before turning or changing lanes
- Approach intersections with care and watch for pedestrians
- Look for cars backing out of driveways or exiting parking lots
Bicycle injuries can be devastating. They can change your life in an instant. Whether you ride your bike just for fun or to commute on a daily basis, safety should always be top of mind.