Most RVers carry bikes with them
Here’s how to stay safe on your bike!
This was first published in my RV Living column with RVwest
Why is it that perfectly safe RVers know the rules of the road in relation to their RV but when they jump on a bike all of their common sense gets left behind? I am definitely not saying this applies to all RVers, but unfortunately it does apply to quite a few. To be honest I have to put myself into the mix. So I thought maybe it was time to remind everyone, including myself, what some of the rules of the road are.
Your bicycle: keep it in good working order
- Check your tires for air pressure and road worthiness.
- Are your brakes working properly?
- Do the wheels spin freely?
- Is the bike the right fit? You must be comfortable and able to stay in control of the bike.
- Are the seat and handlebars adjusted properly?
- Are your reflectors secured and does your light work?
- Do you have a bell? In some areas they are required by law.
- Mirrors allow you to see traffic behind you.
Have you noticed some of the adults who ride with their children don’t wear helmets? Their children do, but for some reason the adults think they are exempt. In many parts of the country it is against the law not to wear a helmet.
A helmet protects your head in the event you fall or are in an accident. Vanity is usually the reason why most adults don’t wear them, but safety should come first—so why wouldn’t you wear one? Visit your local bike shop and have a helmet fitted properly and learn how to wear it correctly.
- Ride on the right with traffic.
- Obey traffic signs, lights and road markings.
- Pedestrians have the right of way.
- Crosswalks are for pedestrians and if you are using one, get off your bike and walk.
- Use correct hand signals.
- Use correct turning lane when turning.
Protect your bike from theft
- Keep your receipt when purchasing your new bike.
- Record the serial number.
- Take a picture of your bicycle.
- Engrave your bicycle it with something unique and record it.
- Always lock up your bike using a U-lock and secure both wheels and the frame to something stationary.
- Use a headlight and a taillight.
- Have reflectors on your bike.
- Wear reflective clothing.
- Be aware of vehicles around you. They may not see you as easily as you think they can.
- Only ride at night if you are experienced and know how to stay safe
Extra safety tips
- Be predictable and do not make any sudden turns or lane changes.
- Obey stop signs – they are meant for everyone.
- Be extra careful in parking lots.
- Be visible.
- Learn the skills necessary to stay safe and in control of your bike.
- Don’t carry grocery bags on your handlebars.
- Use a bell to warn of your approach.
This past summer has really opened my eyes to bike safety. I had quite a few close calls both in my car and on my bike and most could have been prevented by everyone knowing the rules of the road. Traffic laws aren’t just for cars. Yes, there are motorists who aren’t always polite to cyclists either. However, when riding your bike it’s smart to be extra cautious, because getting hit by a car hurts!
By ensuring your bike is in good condition, wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws and being cautious you will go a long way in making sure you are safe on the road. So dust off your bike, get yourself a helmet and start riding.
PS: Please visit my RV Living column with RVwest and sign up on this page to receive lots of information on RVing.