Bicycling is a fantastic way to get around, offering both healthy exercise and an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. But sharing the road with cars and trucks, especially on the bustling roads of California, can pose significant safety challenges. The People Powered Movement estimates that accidents hurt over 11,000 bicyclists each year in California.
California has a diverse landscape that attracts bicyclists from all over. However, its busy roads often present a daunting prospect for bicyclists. Understanding the basic rules of the road and using safety equipment can significantly reduce the risks associated with bicycling in these areas.
Biking rules for safety
One of the most important ways you can keep yourself safe as a bicyclist is to follow the rules of the road. California law treats bicycles as vehicles, which means you have the same rights and responsibilities as other road users. Ride in the same direction as traffic, use bike lanes where available and obey all traffic signals and signs.
Using hand signals to indicate turns or stops can also help motorists anticipate your movements, reducing the chance of collisions. At intersections, ensure you are visible to drivers and take your turn appropriately, just like any other vehicle.
Wear appropriate safety gear
Wearing the right safety gear is another critical aspect of safe bicycling. A properly fitted helmet can provide life-saving protection in the event of a crash. High-visibility clothing and reflective gear can also make you more noticeable to drivers, particularly at night or in low-light conditions.
Using lights and reflectors on your bicycle is not just a safety tip; it is the law in California. A white light in front and a red reflector or light at the rear help drivers see you in darkness and low visibility conditions.
Stay aware and anticipate
Lastly, staying alert and anticipating potential hazards can go a long way in keeping you safe. Pay attention to the vehicles around you and be ready to react to unexpected situations. Anticipate the actions of drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists.
Additionally, if you enjoy listening to music, podcasts or books while on your ride, ensure it is at a low level so you can still hear what is happening around you.
Remember, the road is a shared space, and everyone using it has a responsibility to do so safely. By following the rules, you can help ensure a safe journey, regardless of how busy California’s roads may be.