Stay Safe This Holiday Weekend With Biking Tips from Cycles on Call
Friday, May 25, 2012
5 Steps to Safe Cycling This Summer!
Curb your vanity not your head
Make no mistake, you should definitely start on the road to safe cycling by wearing a quality helmet. Your helmet should fit snugly to your head. If your helmet is over five years old you may want to consider investing in a new one. Over the years helmet technology has greatly improved. Helmets have become easier to fit, safer and more comfortable. One stand out feature of helmets made within the last five years is the dial or ratcheting mechanism to secure the helmet to your head. Gone are the days of mushy foam sizing pads that made for an ill fitting helmet that was less safe as the size of the pads increased. The dial allows you to fit the helmet snugly, which means it is comfortable and stays in place when you need it.
Hold your line
Fairfield County is covered with narrow roads with little or no margin for bicycles. Regardless of your opinion about sharing the road, you never want to have that argument with the side mirror of Chevy Suburban. Learn to ride through sand and over sticks. Honing these skills will allow you to ride in a straight line far to the right. Practice in a parking lot by laying out small sticks that you can ride over.
Go faster. Try various angles. Develop this skill, and you will have the confidence when you confront it on the road.
Intersections and side streets can be nerve wracking. Make sure the driver is aware you are there. Drivers are conditioned to scan for cars, when they don't see one they typically go. The cyclist has the big disadvantage of being smaller than a car, thereby making it easy to hide in a drivers blind spot.
When approaching a driver exiting a cross street or driveway make eye contact. Wave and smile. Make sure that the driver is aware you are there.
LED flashers are not for night riding, they're for riding
Flashing LED lights are by far the best way for a cyclist to communicate with drivers. Even at distances of up to a quarter of a mile a flashing red LED screams out to a driver “I am here”
Most of the lights on the market have several settings. Always choose the flashing mode. If you look at the light and it is unbearable to look at; that's the right setting.
Give us a clue
Carry identification, a cell phone and a couple of bucks. Making a copy of your drivers license, and placing it in a pocket is a great idea. You can use the extra space to write in valuable information like an In Case of Emergency contact name, blood type, allergies, etc.
Lou Kozar is an avid cyclist and owner of Cycles On Call, The Bicycle Shop That Comes to You.
You can contact him at