Bicycling is fun, easy, and has a range of significant health and economic benefits. Bicyclists are among the most vulnerable drivers on the road. Unfortunately, the drivers of cars and trucks on the roadways routinely fail to give cyclists the space they need to ride safely. Many roads and highways in #Georgia lack bike lanes and other features that can make it safer for bicyclists to be on the road.
It’s important for bicyclists to do everything in their power to make their rides as safe as possible, so here are ten safety tips for cycling in Georgia:
1. Always wear a helmet.
Some studies report that upwards of 97% of people killed in bicycle accidents were not wearing a helmet. It is important to wear a properly fitted helmet and to replace it any time there has been an accident. Visit here for tips on how to choose the correct helmet.
2. Make yourself highly visible.
It’s important to make yourself as visible as possible when riding a bike and not just at night. You should always wear fluorescent or bright colored clothing and a colorful helmet. It is also important to use reflective lights in the front, side, and rear that make you visible from all directions.
3. Learn and use hand signals.
When making a turn or changing lanes, always use hand signals and never make turns or change lanes without warning. It’s important to learn the appropriate hand signals for both changing lanes and turning and to carefully visually confirm by looking over your shoulder, signaling, and then looking again before taking any action.
Don’t ever assume that just because you can see a car that they can see you.
4. Go with the flow of traffic.
Contrary to popular belief that it’s safer to bicycle against traffic, you should actually always be biking with the direction of the street traffic and not against it. When going against traffic, the approaching traffic is coming at a much higher speed then when all traffic is going in the same direction.
5. Use bike lanes when available.
Always try and ride in bike lanes if possible or choose a route with as many bike lanes as possible. Unfortunately, in #Atlanta bike lanes are rare, although they are working to add more bike lanes every year. When a bike lane is unavailable you should be biking as far right in a lane as possible while leaving a safety zone from the curb of about three feet. To find the best bicycle route, visit here.
6. Obey all traffic signs and signals.
Bikes should follow all traffic signs and signals as if they were driving any motorized vehicles. This means staying off any sidewalks and always yielding to pedestrians.
7. Never weave in and out of traffic.
Avoid weaving in and out of traffic and passing cars. The more predictable and in a straight line you are while riding, the safer you are and easier it is for a motorist to be aware of your presence. If you have to pass a slow or stopped motor vehicle always pass on the left.
8. Don’t get distracted by music.
You should never listen to music or talk on the phone while riding a bike. It’s important to be able to hear your surroundings to ride safely. If you are adamant about music while riding then its recommended to keep the volume at no more then 50% and to always keep the left, traffic facing earbud out. You can also avoid headphones by mounting a portable speaker to your handlebars.
9. Always do a bike safety check.
It’s important to check your bike before every ride to make sure your tires are inflated properly, your brakes are tight enough, and that your chain is oiled and running smoothly. It’s also important to have your seat adjusted to the proper height – there should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top tube bar if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if using a mountain bike. This will help boost peddling efficiency, enhance riding comfort, and avoid any possible long-term injuries. For a bicycle safety checklist, visit here.
10. Stay off sidewalks.
You should never ride your bike on a sidewalk. This endangers those that are walking. Cyclists are expected to ride in a bike lane when they are available, or stay to the far right of the roadway.
If you are ever involved in a bicycle accident in Atlanta, contact our firm to discuss your potential case.