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6 Essential Safety Tips for Active Cyclists

By AK, 25 March

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People often don't realize how dangerous it can be to ride a bicycle, especially in a crowded city. You are the most vulnerable person on the road, and when you factor speed into the equation, things can get ugly pretty fast. It has been estimated that bicycle-related deaths have gone up 30% from 2009 to 2018. A lot of it has to do with cyclists not understanding or caring to follow safety measures. Let's take a look at a few safety tips all active cyclists should follow.

1Make Sure that Everything is in Order

You have to make sure that your bike is always in perfect order. Ideally, you should perform a safety check every time you take a long ride or once every week. This can be done by doing something known as the M check. The reason it's called the M check is because of the order you're going to be testing components. You start with the front hub and wheel and make sure that everything is tightly secured and in good condition. Then you can check the brakes and give them a pump. Next, check if the pedals are in good shape and rotate correctly, make sure the seat isn't moving, and then check the rear wheel and hub.

Also know that the average bicycle chain will last around 800 to 1000 miles, though this will be closer to 400 to 600 miles if you do heavy mountain biking. Having a chain snap on you is one of the most dangerous things that can happen and could result in a fall or injury. While it may be tough to calculate how much distance a chain has on it, there are some testing tools that will allow you to get a quick idea of how worn it is.

Make Sure that Everything is in Order

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2Get Insurance

Another thing you have to do is start shopping for insurance. You want to be protected if you get hurt in an accident and you also want to cover your bicycle. You have insurers like Velosurance that will give you a full bicycle accident insurance cover. Their bicycle accident insurance plans will cover any damage caused to the bike during an accident or if the bike gets stolen. It will also cover some of your medical costs in case you get injured.

3Make Sure You Obey the Law

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We're not only speaking about road signs and street lights. There are many laws governing how you should ride a bike and they will greatly differ depending on the jurisdiction. While in most cases you will be required to wear a helmet, many people aren't aware that they might be required to have a bell on their bike, or a rear reflector, for instance.

These regulations aren't there to make life difficult for cyclists. They're there to protect them. So, make sure that you know what you're obligated to have and wear by law. This will allow you to avoid fines and instantly be safer on the road.

Get Insurance

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4Be Visible

Visibility is very important when riding a bicycle, and that's at any time of the day. You need to make sure that you wear reflective clothing if possible. Make sure that you run your lights at any time of the day during low-light periods such as fall and winter. However, don't put the setting on a strobe as it can blind people coming in from the other direction and even trigger seizures. Also, when picking reflective clothing, make sure that it's reflective on the sides as well.

5Be Careful and Attentive

You need to be focused on the road 100% when riding. Forget using a radio while riding unless it's on a safe road, like in a park. If you're riding in the city, you need to keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. You also want to make sure that you drive straight and don't make unpredictable moves.

Make Sure You Obey the Law

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6Learn How to Communicate

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Communication will be one of your most important tools when riding your bike. This will be the only way for people around you to know your intentions. You need to get familiar with your hand signals. You need to learn how to point exactly where you want to go. You also want to do it with confidence so that there isn't any confusion.

Another thing you need to know is how to shoulder check. You need to do so before you make gestures and make a maneuver. Shoulder checking before making gestures is very important if you don't want to end up sticking your hand out into a car. Shoulder check, signal, shoulder check again, then make your maneuver.

These are all things that will help you to be safer on the road when cycling. You'll also become much more responsible and ensure the safety of the people sharing the road with you.

Be Visible

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