5 Safety Tips for Road Riding
Our team of ladies ride mountain, gravel, and road. There has been a shift for riding more gravel and mountain bikes as cars are a big threat for road cyclists. But there are other more simple hazards that if addressed will keep you safer on the road. Below is our short list of 5 Key Tips for road riding safety.
1. Ride Side-by-Side With a Friend
Side-by-side riding, or riding two abreast, is more about safety than conversation. To clarify: it is legal for cyclists to ride side-by-side on the road. This prevents cars from overtaking cyclists unsafely, but waiting for there to be enough space to pass. Cyclists are also easier to see when riding side-by-side, rather than single file. Four feet or 1.5 meters is the minimum amount of space a car should give to safely pass a cyclist. Riding side-by-side, though annoying to cars, is a safety thing as much as social thing.
Cycling with a friend on the road side-by-side is the first of our safety tips for road riding.
2. Ride with traffic not against
Though it may seem like common knowledge, inexperienced riders may not know that road rules for cars apply to cyclists too. This includes the direction you ride. According to this article on bike safety, 1/3 of bike crashes happen because of cyclists riding against traffic. Following road rules is key for having a safer bike ride and riding with traffic, not against matters.
3. Watch the time of day you ride
Car and bike accidents happen most during summer months between the hours of 6pm-9pm. More bikers out during nice months of the year and during high traffic hours is a direct correlation to the number of accidents.
As you plan your routes, avoid busy roads during rush hour. The time of day that you ride will greatly help your safety on the road. Stay safe by paying attention to the time of the day that you ride.
4. Use hand signals
The 4th of our tips for road riding safety is to use hand signals. Hand signals are helpful to motorists and the people you are riding with when it comes to safety. Hand signals help communicate. Whether it’s something dangerous in the road ahead, a turn coming up, or if you are slowing or stopping, hand signals on a road bike will help keep you safe. It’s better to over communicate than under communicate, so use hand signals often throughout your ride.
5. Always wear a helmet
A helmet can be the difference between a cracked head and not. Pavement is not forgiving to road cyclists during accidents and we’ve heard intense and graphic stories of all kinds of road accidents. Each story always ends with “I’m glad I was wearing my helmet!” A crushed helmet is more common than you realize and that’s way better than a cracked head. Be safe and wear a helmet always.
This is our short list of tips for road riding safety. Let’s keep Happy Valley happy and stay safe on the roads as much as possible! What would you add to this list?
Get A GRIP: The HVWC Fall Bike Retreat
GRIP stands for Grow, Renew, Inspire, and Purpose. Get a GRIP is a bike retreat for women to gather with other passionate gravel riders. This is a time for learning and goal setting for your own unique riding journey. #morewomenonbikes
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