|PPPD Biking tips: How to
avoid a collision
1. Get a rear light. If you're riding at
night, you absolutely should use a flashing red rear light. Bike shops
have red rear blinkies for $15 or less. These kind of lights typically
take two AA batteries, which last for months (something like 200 hours)
I can't stress this item enough: If you ride at night, get a rear light!
2. Wear a reflective vest or a safety
triangle. High quality reflective gear makes you a lot more visible even
in the day time, not just at night. I had a friend ride away from me
while wearing one during the day, and when she was about a quarter mile
away, I couldn't see her or her bike at all, but the vest was clearly
visible. At night the difference is even greater. Bike shops have vests
and triangles for $10 to $15. Also, when you hear a motorist
approaching, straightening up into a vertical position will make your
reflective gear more noticeable.
3. Choose wide streets. Ride on streets
whose outside lane is so wide that it can easily fit a car and a bike
side by side. That way a car may zoom by you and avoid hitting you, even
if they didn't see you!
4. Choose slow streets. The slower a car
is going, the more time the driver has to see you. I navigate the city
by going through neighborhoods. Learn how to do this.
5. Use back streets on weekends. The risk
of riding on Friday or Saturday night is much greater than riding on
other nights because all the drunks are out driving around. If you do
ride on a weekend night, make sure to take neighborhood streets rather
6. Get a mirror. Get a mirror and use it.
If it looks like a car doesn't see you, hop off your bike and onto the
sidewalk. Mirrors cost $5-15. Trust me, once you've ridden a mirror for
a while, you'll wonder how you got along without it. My paranoia went
down 80% after I got a mirror. If you're not convinced, after you've
used your mirror for a month, take it off your bike and ride around and
notice how you keep glancing down to where your mirror was, and notice
how unsafe you feel without it.
7. Don't hug the curb. This is
counter-intuitive, but give yourself a little space between yourself and
the curb. That gives you some room to move into in case you see a large
vehicle in your mirror approaching without moving over far enough to
avoid you. Also, when you hug the curb tightly you're more likely to
suffer a right cross from motorists who can't see you.
Why Is Bicycle Safety So Important?
Bike riding is a lot of fun, but accidents happen. Every year, about
300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries.
Some of these injuries are so serious that children die, usually from
A head injury can mean brain injury.
That's why it's so important to wear your bike helmet. Wearing one
doesn't mean you can be reckless, but a helmet will provide some
protection for your head and brain in case you fall down.