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6 Cycling Safety Tips to Protect Against Injury

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Cycling is both a fun and rewarding method of transportation, but it doesn't come without the risk of injury. Each year, thousands of people are injured while cycling. While some of these injuries consist of nothing more than scrapes and cuts, others are more severe and long-lasting. There are ways, however, to lower your risk of injury when cycling.

#1) Wear a Helmet

Perhaps the most important safety tip to follow when cycling is to always wear a helmet. In the United States, roughly two dozen states have helmet laws. Even if your state doesn't require it, though, you should still wear a helmet to protect against potentially fatal head injury when cycling.

#2) Use Bike Lanes

If there's a bike lane present, use it rather than the road. Not surprisingly, research shows that cities with dedicated bike lanes have lower rates of cycling-related injury than cities without dedicated bike lanes.

#3) Wear Reflective Gear

Another tip to lower your risk of injury when cycling is to wear reflective gear. Without reflective gear, motorists may not see you. And if a motorist doesn't see you cycling, he or she may unintentionally strike you. By wearing reflective gear, you'll make yourself more visible to cyclists, which will subsequently lower your risk of injury.

#4) Ride on the Right Side of the Road

If there isn't a bike lane, ride your bike on the right side of the road so that you are going "with" the flow of traffic. Some people assume that it's safer to ride on the left side of the road so that they see oncoming vehicles. In reality, though, it's safer to ride on the right side of the road, as it lowers the risk of a head-on collision.

#5) Scan Road for Hazards

Don't forget to scan the road for the hazards while cycling. Rocks, broken pavement, trash or other debris pose a serious hazard when cycling. If you don't see it, you may ride your bike over it, which may send you falling to the pavement. If you see a hazard in the road, take cautious evasive action to avoid it.

#6) Choose Safe Routes

It's important to choose safe routes for your cycling activities. In other words, don't just ride down winding paths with little or no space. Instead, choose flat and open routes that provide plenty of space for both you and motorists.

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