I’m sure you’ve all heard that the UCI Road World Championships is coming to Richmond this month. Thousands of competitors and hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to descend on RVA in just a few short days to share their love of the sport of cycling.
Hosting this prestigious international event has reignited a passion for cycling in Richmond and the surrounding region. With more bikes on the roads in Richmond—and many, many more very soon—I wanted to take a moment to review the basics of bike safety. It can be risky out on the road with cars and trucks whizzing by, so make sure you and your family stay safe with our bike safety tips.
1. Wear a Helmet
I can hear you groaning. We all know that you’re supposed to wear a helmet, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take this simple and essential safety step. According to the CDC 48% of children ages 5-14 don’t wear a helmet when cycling.
Bike accidents are common, and a helmet is often the only thing protecting the rider from serious brain injury or even death. You (or your kids) may not think it looks cool, but a helmet can save your life.
Check out tips for fitting your helmet correctly.
2. Wear the Right Clothes
It’s important to choose the right clothing when riding. Shirts and pants or shorts should be form fitting and not baggy. There should be no loose straps or attachments that could get caught in the chain, pedals, or wheels and cause you to fall.
Also make sure to choose light and bright colors that make you visible to drivers on the road. Almost a third of all bicycling injuries in the US are the result of cyclists being struck by cars. The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure that cars can see you.
3. Check Your Equipment
Make sure your bike is adjusted correctly and fits you well. Check your tires, gears, and brakes before heading out each time you ride. You don’t want to be in traffic when you realize there is a problem with your bike. By then it may be too late to prevent an accident.
4. Pay Attention
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings when riding. Obey all traffic rules and signals (they apply to cyclists just as much as drivers). Be on the lookout for debris, potholes, or other road hazards that might trip you up. Make eye contact with drivers and use hand signals when you turn or change lanes. Just as it’s important for drivers to be able to see you, you should also make sure that you’re looking ahead and spotting any problems with enough time to avoid them.
Fall is a great time for cycling, even if you’re not an international champion. Get out on the roads with your family and have a great—SAFE—time.
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