Summer is the perfect time of year for all our favorite warm-weather activities; from drinking cool glasses of sweet lemonade, to swinging in hammocks under the shade, to getting out and being active. What better way to enjoy a low-impact summer-time activity that requires a minimal investment in equipment and supplies, than by bike riding. Summertime bike riding is the perfect way to enjoy warm summer days and get fit. Don’t take this easy-breezy activity for granted, though. Bike riding is not without its safety hazards. Before you pedal the pavement, read our summer bike safety tips (and yes, that includes wearing a helmet!).
- Protect Your Head. Even though the law only requires children under the age of 14 to wear safety certified bicycle helmets in New York, adults should wear them too. According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, each year approximately two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists, and in a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head. In addition, helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent.
- Be Alert. Whether you’re biking on a busy road with two-way traffic, or on a quiet neighborhood side street, always be alert for pedestrians, other bikers, pets, vehicles, and unexpected road hazards. Learn to always scan ahead, center, left, and right. Resist the temptation to look down at the ground. Keep your head up to scan the upcoming area for obstacles or hazards.
- Be Seen. Especially if you’ll be biking on main roads, utilize proper and expected hand signals:
- Right Turn: Extend your right arm out straight with all fingers extended or use your index finger to point right.
- Left Turn: Extend your left or right arm sideways and bend your arm at a 90-degree angle at the elbow, hand pointing down, and the palm of your hand facing backwards.
- Also, make sure your bike is equipped with a horn, and a reflector and light for evening travel.
- Travel Safely in Pairs and Groups. Biking can be a great group activity, but make sure to do it safely. Whenever biking with another person, or with a group, ride in a single file line with enough space between bikers that if one has to stop abruptly, you won’t be at risk of a collision.
- Ride on the Right Side of the Road. Unlike pedestrians, bikers are required by law to ride with traffic. Not against it. Bike on the right side of the road. Failure to follow traffic rules could result in a law enforcement ticket.
- Have Fun. Getting out and being active is one of the best ways to maximize the summer sun before we all have to trade in our lemonade and sandals for pumpkin spice lattes and fur-lined boots. Enjoy what’s left of the summer by biking your way to fitness. Just remember to put your safety first in every situation.