photographed by Coen van de Broek

16 Biking Safety Facts for Adults

Yiwanning Ma

Yiwanning Ma

Product enthusiast/ Lamicall content marketer/ She/her

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Skimmer Guide

In 2017, there were 145 victims of fatalities and 11,116 cyclists injured. That averages out to 144 bicycle fatalities per year over a 6-year span. From 2016-2018, California’s cyclist Fatality Rating was 3.9 meaning 3.9 cyclist deaths per million people.
 
When I searched Bike safety facts on Google, most articles were for kids or those trying to teach their kids how to ride a bike.
 
Something is slightly off to me; I don’t think bike safety is especially for kids; an adult should know some bike safety facts and experiences from hardcore cyclists.
 
You probably think biking is way too easy of a sport to ignore safety, or you think biking safety is just some common sense problem but need to double-check on before teaching your kids how to ride a bike. See the irony here? An adult should know these 16 biking safety facts. I did all the research, so you don’t need to do it.

Gadget Choice

Photo by Taylor Smith
Photo by Taylor Smith
You don’t need thousands of gadgets and a high-end bike to enhance your cycling experience. When choosing a bike or gadget, keep in mind what you need instead of blindly following buying guides.

Essential Gadgets:

Helmet, sunglasses, belt reflective of the coat and gaiters, summer quick-drying long-sleeved clothes, purses, sunscreen, cycling shorts, cycling gloves, sunscreen, cycling pants and silicone seat covers.

Additional Gadgets:

Water bottle holder, cycling kettle, backpack and backpack rainproof cover, first-aid kit, headlamp, collapsible compression shoulder bag, LED taillight…
Consider installing daytime bicycle lights.
Installing daytime bicycle lights or not is a controversial topic, it’s mandatory in the European Union. And there’s experimental data to support that, that improves safety.
Expert even says that daytime lights are the only way drivers can see you most of the time.
These lights are usually very bright, so they can be easily seen during the day and have a wide visual range to give the driver more reaction time. Depending on the model, trek’s daytime bike lights can see up to 2 kilometers during the day.

Road Bikes/ Commuter Bikes/ Mountain Bikes?

Road bikes are built for speed, commuter bikes are built for comfort and longevity, and mountain bikes are built for handling dirt trails and different terrains.
 Road bikeCommuter bikeMountain bike
FeaturesFast and lightweightWider, more comfortable saddleExtremely durable frames can take a lot of abuse
SuspensionFrame and fork, no suspensionSuspension systems availableEasier to control thanks to the extra suspension
Handlebars Drop handlebarsFlat, straight handlebars Flat bars and riser bars
RidingAerodynamic riding positionUpright riding positionMuch more comfortable to ride
TiresLarge-circumference wheelsWider, heavier tiresWheels can handle potholes and rocks
You can use the commuter bike for your daily commute or just for riding around in an urban environment. But can you use your road bike to commute? Of course! If you don’t want to be late for work but have a lengthy commute of 10 or 15 miles, then a road bike is your best bet. With mountain biking, you can ride cross country, you can run trails or open spaces, you can handle whatever terrain you choose to explore. There’s no limit.
Overall, if you don’t have a stretch budget, road bikes are recommended for regular bike trips.
Remember: Riding the exact bike you want to purchase for at least 15 minutes before making the final decision.

Make Sure You Have Enough Research to Guide You Through the Trip

There are so many guides that suggest comprehensive research on routes. But how specific?
The answer for me is as specific as possible! Even though changes always go beyond plans, a full research never hurts.
Jot down everything you can think of on a piece of paper, and go on the search engine to get the answer, it only takes a few hours, but you’ll get a million-dollar worth list to enjoy your trip to its fullest.
What towns will be passed along the way?
Specific mileage and road conditions from point to point (town to town) cycling every day, including up and down mileage, good road and bad road mileage, country road and provincial road mileage, and supplies along the way. So you can arrange your time, arrange your energy, it’s necessary;
Try to book your accommodation in advance if you can. Even though the internet is so good now, adequate preparation is necessary, with detailed travel plans and guidebooks, to ensure that preparation.

Get Insurance

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 846 bicyclists were killed in motor-vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. Bicyclists’ deaths accounted for 2% of all motor-vehicle traffic fatalities.
Don’t skimp on travel insurance! Sometimes a small amount of money solves big problems. Please take a copy of this insurance policy with you and give it to your trusted relatives and friends?

Keep Personal Belongings Close to You

Keeping personal belongings close to you might sound stupid, but make it a good habit to carry your belongings in a fanny pack like an old schooler, and never leave it out of your sight. Sleep with the bag next to your pillow. Same thing if you have a camera. Back in the day when I visit Beijing, China, on the first day. My wallet was stolen in the morning, and I lost my camera in the afternoon. LOL!

Bring Snacks

Always have a can of Red Bull (or other preferred energy drink) plus a bar of chocolate in your bag.
If you ate them, replenish them at your next stop.
Snacks for saving lives, snacks for bumping up against people who fail to reach their destination on time, and snacks for psychological comfort.

Use Your Energy Wisely

Photo by Dimon Blr
Photo by Dimon Blr
Try not to change our cadence too much when we get onto hills, adjusting our cadence accordingly. One day of cycling is not recommended to exceed 75% of one’s full capacity. Plan your daily itinerary according to a roadbook prepared in advance. If you have to be exhausted on a particular day, try to take a day off the next day or schedule less cycling as a rest.

Travel in Pairs

It would be nice to have good companions. Someone to be presented at your bikes when you go to the toilet, someone to talk with, something to discuss your next accommodations and restaurants. Teamwork does the best work!

Find Your Sweet Spot

Photo by Carter Moorse
Photo by Carter Moorse
Just like running, everyone has their rhythm when cycling. The rhythm in the cycling field is called Cadence Sweet Spot.
What’s the sweet spot? For most riders, the sweet spot is somewhere in the 80 to 100 rpm range. The sweet spot is where you can control and pedal fast while still applying a moderate, sustainable amount of pressure on the pedals.
Some bike computers will tell you your cadence, but you can also count.
To count your cadence, use a stopwatch to count the number of times your leg pushes down on the pedal for 30 seconds, and then multiply by 2. If that is too difficult to keep track of numbers while you ride, count for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 instead.
When traveling in pairs or groups, you don’t have to chase each other. You can make a pact to take a break every hour of walking. The fast ones go ahead and wait for the slow ones to catch up before continuing. It is recommended to take breaks every 40 minutes or one hour. But to each its own. Find your sweet spot.

Keep Emergency Contact Numbers in Your Wallet

We all know what’s the worst thing about a long ride. If an accident occurs, you need to make sure others have access to your emergency contact. It’s very important to inform your family or friends immediately.

Learn to Anticipate the Road

Photo by Flo Karr
Photo by Flo Karr
The faster you ride, the further you need to anticipate. Being aware of what’s around you will greatly improve your safety rating.
Every action on a bicycle is where you anticipate being two seconds down the road… such as shifting, lane positioning, signaling, standing/seated… Any action you take on a bicycle for “now” is too late. Would you mind anticipating your moves?

Two Shifting Tips:

  1. Shifting is equal to anticipation. You shift gears for where the bicycle will be in two seconds up the road.
  2. Shifting does not make hills easier. Shifting helps you maintain 60 – 70 rpm cadence (might be faster for more experienced riders). Downshift when you anticipate that your cadence will drop below 60 RPMs (at the bottom of a climb). When you anticipate it will climb above 70 RPMs (as you crest a hill), shift up.

Beware of Stripe Manhole Covers and Broken Manhole Covers

stripe manhole cover
broken manhole cover
When passing by striped manhole covers, road car tires easily get stuck inside.
Broken manhole covers are way more dangerous; it is essential to keep your eye on the road.
Try to avoid both of them, or avoid all manhole covers.

Don't Ride too Close to The Curb

Stay away from those kerbstones!
I don’t think you want your wheel stuck in the manhole cover. And being too close to the side of the road is also where dirt tends to gather, which increases your chances of a puncture.
The other thing is that if you ride too close to the curb, you don’t have room to adjust, and you’re more likely to be in danger.

Don't Get Bogged Down in Traffic

Photo by Ian DeLashmutt
Photo by Ian DeLashmutt
Stay alert, and don’t get boxed in when road conditions change.
Try not to put yourself in a road situation that you can’t get out of. A good example is riding slowly down the street as you approach a red light.
Don’t let yourself get stuck in traffic because drivers tend not to notice you when you stop to their right at green lights.
Similarly, if everyone else keeps a safe distance, you must also stay within the installed braking range of the car ahead at all times.

Don't Assume You're Safe on Bike Lane

Photo by Markus Spiske
Photo by Markus Spiske
Many cyclists use bike lanes as an island of safety, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
For example, a lost manhole cover, a telephone pole in the middle of a road or a green belt separates the road. Be sure to pay attention!
You never know which person will suddenly open their door, which one is distracted, which one is on the phone.

Try Not to Wear Headphones

We all love nice music, and music is a must in a certain atmosphere or helps you get into a vibe. However, you should pay more attention to safety issues when cycling.
Your ears also play a huge role in cycling.
Thanks for reading this article, I hope you enjoy it. I also made an infographic out of all content, feel free to save the infographic and share with folks you care about! Drop me a comment down below if your have any biking safety tips!

Sources:

Anticipation is key when riding. Road Bike Rider Cycling Site. (2015, November 18). Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.roadbikerider.com/anticipation-is-key-when-riding-d3/?__cf_chl_managed_tk__=pmd_6lapZNkT0dNEtBy2DdiB2_Pu..GBcFZqEJmOoXtd0ng-1631589381-0-gqNtZGzNAtCjcnBszQj9_.
 
Bicycle deaths. Injury Facts. (2021, April 21). Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/home-and-community/safety-topics/bicycle-deaths/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20National%20Highway,all%20motor%2Dvehicle%20traffic%20fatalities.
 
Chang, L. (2021, July 8). The difference between a road bike and a commuter bike. Pedal Street. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.pedalstreet.com/difference-between-road-bike-and-commuter-bike/.
 
Yeager, S. (2021, June 10). How to find your cadence sweet spot. Bicycling. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.bicycling.com/training/a20038822/how-to-find-your-cadence-sweet-spot/.

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