Cycling is a healthy and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation. With the government’s increasing focus on establishing dedicated cyclist lanes and provision of safety measures, it is more important than ever to understand bike safety protocols. In most places riding a bicycle on sidewalks and against the flow of traffic is illegal and apart from having to pay a fine, the results could be catastrophic and might even cause serious injury. Sidewalks are meant for the commuters on foot including children and pets which pose a threat to the cyclist’s path whereas riding against oncoming traffic and disrupting the flow could cause an accident. Riding on the right side of the roads is generally considered good practice to ensure visibility to the traffic and allowing space for maneuvering and overtaking. When approaching junctions or crossroads it is a good idea to join in with the traffic flow. This ensures that the other automobiles know you are there, facilitating in making turns safely.
Wearing safety equipment such as helmets, knees and elbow pads could be a good idea depending on your cycling skills. High visibility clothing should be worn by bikers when traveling at night times. Ensure that all the reflectors installed on the bike are working so the passing by traffic is aware of your road presence. Another psychological phenomenon is seeing other road users eye to eye. This establishes a link between motorists, and they unknowingly give you more space and respect on the road. Although this is not a known safety tip it does stem from scientific research and could prove useful for times when making a turn is difficult due to oncoming traffic. Bike riders should try to ride in a straight line and in a predictable manner. For instance, you should not make sudden turns, especially without the use of correct hand signals. Inconsistent and erratic behavior when riding increases the chances of getting pushed out from the flow of the traffic or sometimes might even lead to getting hit.
Cyclists should always be more concerned about their own safety rather than expecting other road users to drive with consideration. Modern safety technology such as self-balancing bikes and automated distance detection to engage emergency brakes are emerging features that might someday be used by bikers all over the world to prevent accidents. But until then ride safe!