How is the bicycle safer than riding the bus or the train? In this article we discuss about safe cycling and much more.Is bicycling safer than public transportation? With the numbers of cyclists growing daily, the question of its safety comes to mind. How is it safer than riding the bus or the train? We discuss safe cycling and much more in detail in this article.
In the middle of a pandemic, the World Health Organization and the CDC, as well as numerous experts recommend riding a bicycle on your daily commute as opposed to public transportation. Currently, bicycling is considered as one of the safest ways to travel. Assuming, of course, that everyone follows the safety precautions such as wearing a mask, and maintaining a safe distance between each other.
However, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to transportation safety and cycling vs public transport. You have to consider the number of other people cycling, and the presence of cycling infrastructure in the community.
The road to safe cycling consists of some basic factors. Let’s see what they are:
- The presence of cycling infrastructure plays a huge rule in safe cycling. It significantly reduces accidents on the road. This is why governments all over the world are starting to look at building and expanding more bike lanes, and creating more roads that are bicycle-friendly.
- The more everyone accepts cycling as a common mode of transportation, the better the chances of safe cycling are. If a majority of a community considers cycling as a healthier, safer alternative, then there will be less chances of serious bicycling accidents to occur.
- This is the exact opposite for cars. But that’s a topic for another time. Bicycling is also considered as a safer route these days because of the fact that you can stay away from other people as much as possible. Social distancing is still in effect when you ride a bike. This makes cycling a safer alternative.
- Aside from the presence of cycling infrastructure and the number of cyclists, other factors to consider are: your location, the time of day that you’re travelling, and the distance travelled. Clearly, there are more risks when you travel during morning and evening peak hours. There are more people on the road during those times.
- The quality of roads and paths should also be considered. As well as the weather condition when you’re driving. And of course, you also need to consider your driving or riding skills. We will talk about that more of that later on.
- Another big factor is your mental state as you ride your bike. If you are not in the right mental state to drive, there are higher risks. For instance, if you are under the influence of alcohol, or if you are distracted by your thoughts, or your mobile device, the risk is significantly greater.
Safety begins with You
Since we are on the topic of safety, it is very important that we discuss safety precautions when riding a bike, aka safe cycling. Safe cycling begins with you. This means that if you want to lessen the risks of accidents when riding a bike, you have to start following safety precautions when you’re out there. Here are some tips that could prove useful during your bicycle rides:
- Wear a helmet – it might sound cheesy to some, but wearing a helmet will give you better chances of survival in case of an accident. It protects your head from absorbing the impact as opposed to riding your bike bare-headed.
- Wear the right cycling gear – trust us, your body will thank you for it. Not only will wearing the right gear protect your body, but it will also make your commute easier because it is more comfortable.
- Bright colors are a must – bright and reflective clothing plays a huge role in your safety as you cycle. This is particularly true in the early morning, on cloudy days, or when you are riding late at night. Bright and reflective clothing helps others see you better.
- Be prepared – before you ride your bike, make sure you know what the weather will be like on that specific day. You can adjust or plan your gear accordingly. For instance, if the weather forecasts say it’s going to rain, you need to wear waterproof gear, and so on.
- Install rear view mirrors on your handlebars – looking over your shoulder every time you cycle is a risk. This is why rear view mirrors are crucial. These devices may be small, but it can help you soo what’s behind you at all times.
- Carry a small first-aid kit at all times – you have a first-aid kit at home and in your car, why not bring one with you when you cycle, too? First-aid kits are relatively small, and they can fit in your bag. Better safe than sorry.
- Carry a patch kit – of course, you also need a patch kit in your bag everytime you ride your bike. This way, you can patch up your own flat tire when needed.
- Be alert – just like when you’re driving or walking, it is very important to be alert when you ride a bike. Do not use your mobile phones, headphones, or earpiece. Hearing everything around you is crucial when you ride a bike. It is important that you do not get distracted.
- Always bring a phone and identification cards – cellphones can be used in case of an emergency, and your identification card will be useful to emergency responders in case of an accident.
- Learn the bike safety rules by heart – every state has their own bike safety rules for cyclists to follow. The more you know, the better.
- Do not ride against traffic – it is also crucial to never ride against traffic.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars – this will help keep you balanced better and lets you break faster when needed.
- Use front and rear lights – again, you need to stay visible when you’re riding a bike. Install front and rear lights. Signal lights are also helpful.
- Stay steady – do not switch back and forth between the streets and sidewalks. This is illegal. It is also unsafe for you, for other cyclists, for pedestrians, and for vehicle drivers. Switching every now and then can get confusing for drivers, especially when you are riding on an intersection.
- Be vigilant at intersections – speaking of intersections, you need to stay vigilant when you’re at intersections. Always hang left in the lane when you’re coming to a stop. This helps drivers behind and in front of you see you better.
- Follow lane directions – do we need to say more?