When you’re traveling in anything other than an enclosed motor vehicle – like a car or SUV – your chances of suffering a serious injury in a crash are much higher. Last week, we talked about the best ways to stay safe when riding a motorcycle in California. This week, let’s focus on some guidelines for avoiding a dangerous accident when you’re on a bicycle.
When a bicycle and a car collide, the bicyclist is obviously going to be in worse shape. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over half a million people needed emergency medical treatment after a bike accident in the U.S. in 2010. In addition to all of those bicyclists who suffered injuries, about 800 bicyclists died that year.
As you can see, it is incredibly important to take precautions to keep yourself safe when you’re riding a bike in San Diego. Here are some important tips.
Ride with traffic
When you’re on a bicycle, you should typically ride on the street, instead of the sidewalk. When you’re on the street, though, you want to make sure you are riding with the flow of traffic. In other words, ride on the side of the road with cars traveling in the same direction.
One of the dangers of riding on the street is the potential for getting “doored” when riding by parked cars. If there are cars parked on the side of the street, you will probably want stay about three feet away from them. Even though the person getting out of the parked car is responsible for making sure the path is clear before opening the door, staying out of the way could be your best bet to avoid a collision.
Follow the rules of the road
Since you are riding on the street, you will have to follow the signs and signals on the road. For instance, you are required to stop at red lights and stop signs.
In addition, you will want to make sure you give obvious signals when you decide to turn. You are allowed to turn left in a turn lane, but you will want to give hand signals so the other vehicles are aware of where you are going when crossing to the turn lane.
Make sure you have the right gear
As we’ve mentioned before, only those 18 years of age and under are required to wear helmets when riding a bike in California. Of course, even though it is not a law for adults, it is always a good idea to wear a helmet when biking.
When riding at night, you will also want to be sure that your bicycle has lights and reflective panels. You may also choose to wear clothing with reflective panels to make sure other vehicles can spot you easily.
Do you have any other suggestions for staying safe while biking in California?