Cycling is a fun and healthy way for families to spend time together and explore their surroundings. However, it’s important to prioritize your safety while on a bike ride, especially when you’re sharing the road with cars. Are you worried about the mileage on your car? Cars tend to lose value when they hit 60,000 to 70,000 miles, making cycling an excellent alternative for your planned local trips.

1. Stay Safe on the Road

Always wear a helmet. Though it’s not guaranteed to save your life, it significantly increases your chances of survival. Try wearing bright, fluorescent, or reflective clothing. It will make you more visible to drivers, especially during early mornings, late nights, and cloudy days. Shield yourself from the sun. Protect your skin with sunscreen and long-sleeved, breathable clothing, and protect your eyes with sunglasses so you can always see clearly.

2. Plan Your Route

It’s important to be alert and aware of your surroundings while riding. Never ride with headphones or an earpiece; you need to hear everything around you. Riding with a buddy can also increase visibility and provide a safety net in an emergency. When choosing a route, prioritize safety over speed. Opt for roads with dedicated bike lanes or wide and quiet ones. Avoid high-traffic roads, especially on weekends when more drunk drivers may occur.

3. Abide by Bike and Safety Rules

Knowing the bike safety rules for your state and the most common cyclist-motorist collisions and how to avoid them can also improve your safety while riding. Using hand signals that drivers understand, such as signaling left or right turns with your arms, can help prevent accidents. Additionally, always ride with traffic and never against it, as it makes it difficult to make a right turn and increases the risk of accidents.

4. Respect Your Bicycle

It’s important to remember that bicycles are vehicles, not toys, and should be respected as such. According to data from 2018, 857 bicyclists died in bicycle accidents. You should always inspect your bike to ensure all parts are secure and working correctly before use. Wearing a properly fitted bicycle helmet protects your brain and saves your life. Adjust your bike to fit your body correctly, with 1 to 2 inches between you and the top tube using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches using a mountain bike. The seat should be level front to back, and the seat height should allow a slight bend in your knee when your leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level as the seat.

Before riding, ensure your tires are inflated properly and your brakes work. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars, and avoid carrying items in your hands. Watch for and avoid road hazards, such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs, which can cause accidents. Alert riders behind you to any hazards by yelling out and pointing. Night riding can be dangerous, so it’s best to avoid it. However, if you must ride at night, wear something that makes you more visible, such as reflective tape or flashing lights. Make sure you have reflectors on the front and rear of your bicycle and your tires so that others can see you.

Remember, accidents involving bicycles and cars can be costly, with economic costs of $1,750,000 for a fatal car accident and $101,000 for a disabling injury in 2020, including wage losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle repairs, and employers’ uninsured costs. Cycling is a great way to get around town and an excellent form of exercise. Taking these safety precautions allows you to ditch the car and have an enjoyable and safe cycling experience with your family.