11 Tips for Safer Cycling

HealthAfter50 | Aug 9, 2016 Aug 12, 2016

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Safety First

According to The League of American Bicyclists, even minor bicycling accidents can cause major injuries. Here are 11 tips for staying safe.

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1. Make sure your bike fits you

When you stand over the bike, you should have 1 to 2 inches of clearance between you and the bar (5 inches for a mountain bike). Your leg should have a slight bend when fully extended on the pedal.

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2. Always wear a bike helmet

Look for a helmet marked with a Consumer Product Safety Commission label, and be sure it fits snugly.

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3. Wear the right gear

Wear appropriate closed-toe footwear (consider investing in cycling shoes). Avoid loose clothing that can be caught in bicycle parts.

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4. Choose the right accessories

Sunglasses can reduce glare. Padded gloves help prevent blisters, and padded shorts can reduce buttock pain. Attach a rearview mirror to your handlebars so you can see behind you easily.

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5. Be visible

Particularly at dawn and dusk, wear neon colors and reflective clothing. Put reflective tape on your helmet and bike. Be sure your bike has reflectors or flashing lights on the front and back.

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6. Follow road rules

Always ride with traffic in the designated bike lane or as far right as possible. Don’t ride too close to parked cars—a passenger may suddenly open the door. Obey traffic lights, signs, and speed limits.

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7. Share the road

Be considerate of other motorists and pedestrians, who have the right of way.

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8. Use proper form when riding

Toes that aren’t straight-facing on the pedals can cause leg pain. Gripping too tightly can strain your hands, wrists, and shoulders.

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9. Be aware of your surroundings

Avoid busy streets and riding on sidewalks (in some areas it’s prohibited), where you’re more likely to crash into a pedestrian. Keep an eye out for potholes and other obstacles.

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10. Perform simple bike maintenance before each ride

Check to make sure your tires have enough air, look for wear on your brake pads, and keep the chain free of gunk.

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11. Take a safe-cycling class or join a biking group

Participating in organized group rides, improving your skills, and learning how to fix a tire are some benefits of joining a local bicycling club.