If you’re a bicyclist, you know that you have to obey the rules of the road in order to stay safe – but there’s always a risk involved if you’re cycling near moving vehicles. There are things that you can do to help protect yourself in a bicycling accident (or, ideally, to prevent one altogether).
While we can’t always predict what others will do, you can take steps to keep yourself safe in case something goes wrong.
- Protect your body. In the state of Arizona, you aren’t required to wear a helmet if you’re an adult. However, your risk of traumatic brain injury increases exponentially if your bare head hits something solid.
- Stay in your lane. Arizona law allows you to use the roadway in order to avoid potholes, loose gravel and other dangers on the side of the road, but make sure you aren’t on a curve and you’re not putting yourself at risk if you venture into motorists’ lanes.
- Pay attention to traffic signals. As a cyclist, you’re responsible for obeying the same traffic laws that the drivers of motor vehicles must obey, so watch out for those red lights. Be especially careful crossing the street near turn-only lanes.
- Don’t wear headphones while cycling. It’s not illegal to wear headphones on your bicycle, but it’s unsafe. You may not hear horns, emergency vehicles or even warning shouts, so it’s better to go without music in the interest of safety.
- Make yourself visible to drivers. Wearing reflective gear, especially at night, can save your life. Arizona law requires bicyclists to use a white headlight and a red rear reflector before sunrise and after sunset, so make sure your bike is properly equipped.
- Use hand signals. If you’re turning left, extend your left arm. If you’re moving right, extend your right arm. Most drivers will understand what you’re doing, but you should always visually check before you make any maneuvers on your bike.
- Keep your hands on the handlebars. Arizona law requires that you keep at least one hand on the handlebars while you’re riding.
Because you have the same responsibilities as motorists, you have the same rights on the road that motorists enjoy. Never compromise your own safety on the road for the convenience of other drivers.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any bicycle safety tips to share? Share them on our Facebook page.