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Cyclist tips to help avoid collisions

The traffic is heavy, but that road is on your favorite route. It’s getting near dusk and your bike light doesn’t work, but you feel you’ll finish your ride before it gets dark out. Loud music can hinder your focus to your surroundings, but you love your music and want to jam while you ride.

The situations described above increase your chances of getting into a crash, and potentially suffer a life-altering or life-ending injury.

Cycling is about safety as much as it’s about fun and getting in a solid workout. There are general tips you can follow to avoid a bicycle crash.

  • Avoid busy streets: It’s easy to fall into a routine and bike the same route you always do. You know the curves, the turns and the bumps, but sometimes, during times of heavy traffic, it’s wise to consider a different route. Your safety depends on it.
  • Keep your bike light on and wear reflective clothing: If the light on your bike doesn’t work, replace it. If you don’t have a light on your bicycle and plan on ever riding  in the early morning, late evening or at night, get one. Bike lights and bright clothing can be very affordable, and they help drivers identify you.
  • Use your limbs: Don’t make drivers guess if you are turning on not -- that’s how you get hit. The movement of your arms to signal your turns is key. To signal a left turn, point your left arm outward to the left. To signal a right turn, point your right arm outward to the right.
  • The music and phone dilemma: Keeping your focus on your surroundings is vital when cycling, especially if you’re on a busy street. You have every right to listen and ride but be aware it raises the risk of a crash. Though difficult in itself, texting and talking on the phone while riding, is even more dangerous.

In case of a sudden event, you must keep your wits about you. Adhering to these tips can help improve your overall cycling experience and lower your risk of becoming a statistic.

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