Whether you’re using your bicycle for commuting or for pleasure, following these tips can help you avoid being injured in a bike accident.

Bicycling is good for the environment and for the fitness of riders. And the roads of Colorado offer unrivaled scenic views. But to get the most out of riding, cyclists need to do everything they can to stay safe on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that many bicycle-related crashes resulting in injury or death are associated with the bicyclist’s behavior, for example, riding without a helmet, entering an intersection without stopping, turning into the path of oncoming traffic, and riding against traffic. Here are some tips that may help you avoid being injured in a bicycle accident:

Wear a Helmet

First and foremost, wear a helmet that fits you properly and is securely fastened.

Check Your Equipment

Before setting out, make sure your gear is properly adjusted and well maintained. Be sure all quick-release levers are tight, that your brakes are working, and that your tires are inflated to the correct pressure.

Make Sure You’re Seen

Wear clothing that allows others to see you in all weather and times of day. Fluorescent colors and reflective tape are helpful. Use bicycle lights at night, and be sure your bike has plenty of reflectors.

The Rules of the Road

As a cyclist, you’re required to follow all the rules of the road.

  • Ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Follow all traffic laws, signs, signals, and lane markings.
  • Yield to traffic when appropriate.
  • Be predictable; don’t weave in and out of traffic.
  • Don’t ride on sidewalks.
  • Look before turning, and make sure to use hand signals.
  • Make eye contact. Do not assume drivers will stop.

Avoid Distractions

It’s important to avoid distractions — like using your phone — so you can keep an eye out for road hazards (like broken glass, loose gravel, railroad tracks, and storm drains) or sudden changes in traffic. Keep an eye on parked cars that might open a door suddenly. If you’re in the lead of a group, yell back to other riders about potential hazards.

Consider Taking a Class

There are several organizations that offer biking classes for both adults and children. Bicycle Colorado provides classes that focus on safety while commuting to work by bicycle. REI provides training on basic bicycle maintenance as well as beginner biking lessons for kids. The League of American Bicyclists serves all ages with smart cycling classes to help riders feel safe, comfortable, and confident while biking alongside vehicles.

Taking a few precautions and increasing your knowledge of bike safety can help ensure a safe riding experience.

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