Taking your biking exercise outdoors is entire different ball game than cycling indoors. You have to be just as alert, or even more so than when driving. Don’t even consider multi-tasking as you would inside. If you want to practice cycling as an outdoor sport and activity there are certain rules you have to consider. Even though they might differ from country to country the basics stay the same.
Even though you might feel that it’s not necessary, you will be very happy that you protected yourself if you do get in an accident. Make sure that you are wearing the helmet in the correct manner and that it is fastened tightly. If you cycle in traffic you can wear additional knee and elbow guards for protection. Apart from just protecting your body in a fall, also carry a can of pepper spray with you. Since you are moving slower than other vehicles or might by cycling in an area that you don’t know, you need to be prepared. It would be wise to carry a spare phone with you when biking in case something happens or you get lost. Remember to lock your bicycle to a post or tree when you are leaving it unattended.
Go with the flow
Drive with traffic and not against it. In some countries this would mean left, and in others right. This way you will be able to see the cars and vehicles coming your way. Remember to stay in the allocated bicycle lane and don’t confuse other drivers. As a cyclist you are inferior to vehicles, but you still have to keep an eye on pedestrians even though you might have the right of passage.
Let your light shine
Apart from protecting your body when cycling you also have to make sure that you are visible to other vehicles on the road. When you are cycling late in the afternoon or early in the morning wear a headlight and reflecting stickers on your bicycle and clothing. You need to be visible during hours of low visibility, also wear these lights and reflectors on misty and rainy days.
Give the signal
A big part of road safety for cyclist as well as drivers is being knowledgeable regarding road signals. Before you start cycling outdoors, read about signals and safety rules in your area. Since your bike does not have indicators or break lights you have to show those around you what you are up to and if you are going to change course or direction.
Keep your eyes on the road
When you are driving in traffic firmly grip the handle of your bicycle with both hands. You might be feeling like riding hands free down a hill, but you need to consider the movement and unpredictability of the vehicles around you. If a big truck passes you by the gusting wind might even push you off balance, be sure to feel balance and secure on the road. If you are cycling in a high traffic area keep your eyes on the cars and pedestrians around you to prevent a sudden accident.
As a cyclist you should obey rules for your safety. One of these includes using a pedestrian crossing when crossing the road. This way you will prevent confusing other vehicles about your movements, and you will ensure that you have rite of passage. A lot of times this is the easiest way to cross a busy road, and alongside with pedestrians you can safely travel to the other side while the cars patiently wait.
Keep it straight
Another important thing when cycling in traffic or in public is to be predictable. Don’t play around on your bicycle by swirling or doing tricks on the side of the road. This can confuse other drivers and vehicles and might even cause an accident. Stay on your allocated side of the road and keep in a straight line when cycling. If you do intend to make a direction change, do so by using the indicating signals.
Biking to work, school or even the shops can hold a lot of benefits, but it is very important to stay safe when using this transportation option. There are certain rules on the road that you must understand and obey in order for everyone to be biking happily and healthily.