Guest post by our recycles bike mechanic, Maalik.
The first thing that pops into my head when I hear that phrase is: helmet and U-lock!
Since there is no way to stop an accident (though you can certainly do your best to prevent one) a helmet is always the best way to secure your skull from any potential damage. And the best way to protect your bike from traveling on its own is with a U-lock--don't let those two wheels get moving without you.
Here are a few tips to help riders prevent accidents--a test I call the ABC check.
Check these things before each ride. If your chain is detached, your tires low on air, or if your brakes aren't functioning--you could wheel into some serious problems!
Follow the rules
The same rules that apply to motorized vehicles apply to cyclists--so be sure to ride the correct way down a one-way street and observe stop signs and lights. When riding through campus slow down in congested areas, like the Quad, or walk your bike. NEVER ride on sidewalks. Very important!!
If you ever feel at risk of injury, just keep calm, slow down, and dismount your bike.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than riding a bike that is too big or too small. If the bike is too small, your knees will rise over the handlebars, not allowing full leg extension. Over-sized bikes are difficult to ride too, as they can be hard to mount and dismount.
Buy a U-Lock if you care about your bike. These locks are the strongest and most reliable for bike safety.
- Keep your bike in good shape by visiting your local bike shop. If you ride everyday, go every month for regular maintenance.
- Grease the chain
- Keep tires at optimal pressure to avoid flats
- When riding at night, when it's dark, use a rear and head light. Bonus points (and added safety) if you use blinking lights.
Riding on the road
- Stay 7 to 10 inches away from parked cars to avoid getting a driver's side door swung open in your path
- Look into the front and back windows of parked cars to assure no one is in the car
- Keep your head high and your posture upright
- Make yourself visible- bright colors and reflective gear are helpful with this
- DO NOT USE A CELL PHONE WHILE RIDING
- NEVER RIDE WITH HEADPHONES. YOU CAN NOT HEAR PASSING TRAFFIC OR THE LIVING WORLD THAT IS HAPPENING AROUND YOU.
- Ride with a sense of confidence not arrogance.
- Know that you are doing your body some good as well as the earth.
Have fun on your bike but always ride safe. Keep your helmet and U-lock close by. These are two of most important tools for bicycle safety.
Summer time is right around the corner--get yourself a bike (or borrow a recycles bike!), take long rides, sweat a little (or a lot), but always remember to ride safely.