Riding a bicycle isn't just fun; it's good for your health. As a form of aerobic exercise, it will strengthen your heart while lowering your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, nearly a half-million bicycle-related injuries occur each year in the United States. Whether for commuting or leisure, you can still ride a bicycle, but you should follow these five safety tips to lower your risk of injury.
#1) Wear a Helmet
The single most important thing you can do to prevent injury when riding a bicycle is to wear a helmet. Most bicycle-related fatalities involve a rider not wearing a helmet. While some states require riders to wear a helmet on public roads, others don't. Regardless of which state you live in, you should always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. It will protect your head from severe injury.
#2) Go With the Flow
Unless otherwise stated by traffic signs, you should go with the flow of traffic when riding a bicycle. This is in stark contrast to walking and jogging, in which case you should go against the flow of traffic. By riding your bicycle on the same side of the road as the natural flow of traffic, you are less likely to experience a collision that could otherwise result in injury.
#3) Look Forward
Another safety tip to follow when riding a bicycle is to look forward. Some riders have a tendency to look at the ground. They assume that looking at the ground will help them avoid obstructions in the road. If you look at the ground, though, you won't be able to see vehicles ahead of you. Therefore, you should look forward when riding a bicycle.
#4) Choose a Safe Route
Some roads offer a safer experience for bicycle riders than others. Before hitting the streets, plan a safe route that consists of flat and open roads. Hills and winding turns are hazardous because they limit your visibility. If a route has a lot of tall hills or winding turns, your visibility will be restricted. In turn, you are more likely to have an accident that causes injury.
#5) Wear Reflective Gear
Wearing reflective apparel or other gear can lower your risk of injury when riding a bicycle. Reflective gear ensures that other motorists on the road will see you. Even during the daytime, reflective gear will make you more visible. Therefore, you'll be less likely to sustain a collision.