Reducing Car-Related Bicycle Accidents in Louisiana
Getting ready to take your bike on the road?
Are you prepared to navigate the city streets for your commute?
Riding your bike on the road can be a lot of fun and can be very convenient. However, it’s important to be aware of the possible dangers you face, particularly from larger vehicles.
Below, we’ll look at some of the most important bike riding tips to keep in mind to help you stay safe on the road.
1. Watch Those Car Doors – One of the Most Important Bike Riding Tips
Some of the top hazards to watch out for when riding your bike on the street are car doors. It’s important to be very careful when driving past cars parked on the right side of the road.
It can be very unpredictable when a car door will come flying open. It pays to assume the worst. Make sure to leave space for a car door to open when riding past parked cars.
If possible, also look for warning signs such as brake lights and passenger movements that show someone may be getting out of the car.
2. Pedestrians Advance Forward
Just like motorcycling, when riding your bike on the road it can be tricky to avoid collisions with pedestrians from time to time. Be aware that in most cases, pedestrians have a tendency to go forward when they see a bike coming their way, rather than returning back from where they came.
If you spot a pedestrian crossing the street and they suddenly notice you, it’s best to plan on going behind them since in most cases they will rush forward.
3. Stay to the Right
When riding your bike on the street you need to stay to the right and away from passing cars. It’s best to stay to the right and away from passing traffic. Plan to ride your bike on the right side of the street, single file with other cyclists.
However, the rule above still holds. You need to still watch out for car doors and leave space when passing parked cars to avoid a nasty surprise.
4. Don’t Forget Your Gear
While it’s not always cool to talk about safety gear, the truth is there are a few essential items you’ll need for your bike if you will be riding it on the road.
For starters, you need to make sure you have a helmet. You may even want to consider other types of safety pads as well. When riding your bike at night or during the day, reflectors and lights are both a must as well.
Additionally, you should have a horn on your bike so that you can warn vehicles and pedestrians if you’re headed for a collision or another problematic situation.
5. Beware of Turning Vehicles
When riding your bike on the road, you also need to be careful and wary of cars that are turning in your direction. A car may be planning a right turn exactly when you’re crossing an intersection or sideroad. A car may also be coming from the other side of the road.
Be aware of this and make a habit of looking over your shoulder every time you approach a road someone may be turning into. You may just be directly in their path.
6. Use Your Body Language
One special trick that you learn if you’ve been riding your bike on the road for a while is to make use of body language in a big way.
Using hand signals is, of course, an excellent idea to let drivers know when you’re making a turn. However, you can also use other types of body language as well to make sure that drivers are as aware of you as possible.
Before preparing for a turn, look over your shoulder or begin stopping your pedals. Any type of body language or eye contact you use can help, especially if exaggerated.
Your body language can do a lot to let drivers know you’re about to do something and help them anticipate your move.
7. Choose the Middle for Narrow Streets
In most cases, you should stay to the right when riding your bike. However, on narrow streets it’s good to stay in the middle of the lane.
Staying in the middle of the narrower streets will allow you to stay as visible as possible and will help to keep you out of harm’s way. Additionally, this will also help stop aggressive drivers from trying to pass you when there’s not really enough room, helping you to avoid accidents.
8. Increase Your Visibility
When riding your bike on the road, especially at night, you need to do everything possible to increase your visibility. Low cyclist visibility is one of the primary causes of accidents between bike commuters and other vehicles.
As mentioned above, you need to use reflectors and lights while riding at night. However, wearing bright colors when possible can also be a big help during the day or night. A horn can also serve as an excellent warning signal.
You should also try to avoid driver blind spots and make sure that you’re always riding in a spot where a driver can easily see you in one of their mirrors or windows.
9. Eliminate Distractions
When commuting on your bike, it’s also crucial that you eliminate any distractions you have. Even more so than driving, you need to stay focused and alert.
Be aware of everything that is happening around you and make sure you’re ready for any problems. Never talk on the phone or use your cell phone while riding your bike.
Additionally, it should go without saying, just like with driving a car you should never ride your bike intoxicated or under the influence of any substances.
10. Know the Rules of the Road
The final point on our list of bike riding tips is that you should, of course, be well aware of any local laws when it comes to riding your bike. You should also obey all traffic signs.
There are many specific Louisiana bike laws you need to be aware of when riding your bike on the road. Many of the laws outline the requirements for sharing the road with other motorists. It’s important to know what is required of you as well as the vehicles you are sharing the road with.
Finally, it’s an excellent idea to use bike lanes whenever possible.
Put These Bike Riding Tips into Practice and Stay Safe
Biking can be a fun, cheap, and convenient choice for your daily commute. However, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to stay safe.
Be aware of what is happening around you at all times and keep these bike riding tips in mind. Safety should be your number one priority when riding your bike on the road.
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