Bike Safety 101
Five tips for staying safe—and having fun—this cycling season
This is the time of year when guys are dragging their bikes out of storage and getting ready for another season of cycling. To help get you ready to roll this summer, we teamed up with our friends at Master Lock to put together a list of things to keep in mind as you take to the road: 1. Select the right lock When looking at security solutions to protect your bike, it's important to weigh your needs. Heavy duty U-bars, like Master Lock's 8170D, offer top-notch security and are ideal if you don't already have a bike lock. If you are in need of a security solution that can lock up multiple items, a long, thick cable lock like Master Lock's 8428DPS adjustable locking cable may be a better solution. Keep in mind, the thicker the cable or bar, the more security that lock will provide. If you have trouble remembering combinations, consider a keyed cable lock. If you hate carrying around more keys than necessary, an integrated, set-your-own password combination cable lock like Master Lock's 8220D is ideal. Use the free Master Lock Vault to store log-in and password information for your lock combinations, key codes, and other confidential data for easy access via the web or smart phone app. 2. Gear up Wear the proper safety gear every time you go out for a ride. Regardless of where you're riding or how short the ride will be, a bike helmet is always a must. Fitting your bike and clothing with reflectors or lights will ensure you can be easily spotted day or night. 3. Map it out Take time to familiarize yourself with the best bike routes in your city before heading out to avoid ending up on a dangerous trail or street. Consult an online mapping service, such as Google Maps, or your local transit authority or city website for an overview of streets with dedicated bike lanes, bike trails or other bike-friendly routes. 4. Remember the rules of the road And follow them! Even though you're on a bike, you still have to abide by the same traffic laws as drivers. This includes stopping at stop signs, driving on the right side of the road, yielding to pedestrians and signaling a turn. The three primary arm signals you should know are:
- Left turn: extend left arm straight out in the direction of the turn, parallel to the road
- Right turn: extend your left upper-arm out to the left, parallel to the road and angle your forearm vertically upward
- Stopping: extend your left upper arm out to the left, parallel to the road and angle your forearm vertically downward
5. Ride defensively Remember that your bicycle is a small, inconspicuous vehicle, so make sure you are noticed while riding. Whenever possible, ride in a bike lane while on the road and stay in a single file. Avoid traveling along the side of cars when passing through intersections — cars may turn in front of you without warning. Use caution when passing parked cars as occupants may not see you when opening doors or pulling out of parking spaces. Keep your hands over the brakes at all times so you can brake quickly if a hazard presents itself.