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Bike Safety Tips For East Coast Bicyclists

Couple biking safely on a bike trail

Riding a bicycle on busy roads can be a little scary, a lot of fun and really practical! While the weather is warm, biking may be the fastest way for you to get some exercise and fresh air, get groceries or just get from point A to point B. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just an occasional rider, safety should always come first on the road. Here are a few bike safety tips for you to keep in mind while mounted on your two-wheeled steed.

  1. Safely share the road with others.You’ll need to share the road with many other vehicles while avoiding obstacles. From car doors to SUVs, buses and roadkill, you’ll want to keep your eyes and ears open and observant at all times.
  2. Avoid blind spots.If you’re riding in the bike lane and fewer than five feet from a vehicle in front of you, assume that you’re invisible. Make sure to leave plenty of room if you’re coming up to an intersection. Drivers aren’t always sure where they’re headed and often change course on a dime.
  3. Be mindful of road hazards.In the summer, road sinkholes tend to appear more often, and the East Coast is never short on tire-blowing potholes. Be mindful of these and other potential construction hazards.
  4. Always wear a helmet — even if your local laws don’t require one. Although it’s easy to guard against, head trauma is one of the most common bike injuries. The more often you ride your bike, the more protective gear you should wear.
  5. Follow the rules of the road.Try to behave as a motor vehicle would. Make turn signals and ride with traffic, NOT against it. John Forester’s theory of vehicular cycling states that if you behave like a respectable vehicle, you’ll get treated like one. Be sure to have lights on both sides of your bike when riding after dark so that people can anticipate your next move. In fact, it’s the law in most states.
  6. Know the law.Be sure to fully understand your local laws for riding on the road and your rights should you get into an accident. The New Jersey Department of Transportation has resources to help you get started. To read about the bike laws in your state, visit the League of American Bicyclists website.

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