Cycling is a great way to stay in shape, enjoy the weather, see the local sights and relax. Many people in New York City put their bikes away for the winter months. Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a good time to pull the bike out of storage and gear up for those delightful summer rides.
Preparing now can help you avoid bicycle accidents that might result in injuries. Follow these tips to stay safe.
#1: Brush up on the rules of the road
Cyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as cars. Take care to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, ride in the direction of traffic, come to a full stop at stop signs and don’t breeze through red lights. Use bike lanes whenever available. Most importantly, always stay on the alert, and never assume that drivers can see you (or that they’re paying attention).
#2: Check your bicycle‘s components
After a long winter in storage, your bike may need some tuning up before it’s ready to hit the pavement. Mechanical issues can contribute to serious accidents. The last thing you need on a ride is for your gears to suddenly lock up or brakes to fail.
Take the time to conduct a few basic mechanical checks. Make sure you inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s specifications. Test out the brakes, pedals, gears and other critical components. If it’s been more than a few months since you last rode, consider taking your bike to a reputable bike shop for a professional tune-up.
#3: Ensure that your safety gear is in good shape (and still fits)
Protective gear plays a critical role in keeping you safe. It can lessen your injuries in the event of an accident and help prevent accidents in the first place. However, safety gear can deteriorate over time. Make sure your lights still work and your clothing still fits. Carefully inspect your helmet for any cracks or wear-and-tear.
#4: Refresh your memory of safe riding practices
Even the most seasoned cyclists can benefit from regular safety refreshers. Get into the habit of following these practices when riding:
- Steer clear of the “door zone,” where you could get struck by a parked car.
- Always signal your intentions, especially when turning.
- Use caution at intersections.
- Plan your route carefully, opting for streets with bike lanes or lighter traffic whenever possible.
- Always wear a helmet – and wear it properly. If you’re riding in the dark, dusk or early dawn, wear reflective clothing and equip your bike with adequate lights.
By following these simple steps, you can make this summer’s riding season an enjoyable one.