Start Riding a Bike Again
With everyone practicing social distancing measures and staying home to stay safe, riding a bike has become a fun or necessary way to get around and find respite from spending so much time inside. Here are some helpful tips for those looking to start riding a bike again.
Give your Bike a Checkup.
If it has been a while since you’ve taken your bike out for a spin, take a few minutes to give it some love. Dust off the cobwebs, inflate the tires, lube the chain, and give it a ride around the block a few times to make sure everything is in working order. There’s nothing worse than waiting until that one hill in the middle of your first ride to realize your tires are half inflated and your chain won’t shift into those easy gears.
Wear a Helmet. Helmets are the single most effective piece of safety equipment for riders of all ages. A helmet only works when you wear it. Parents need to set the example for their kids by wearing a bicycle helmet too.
Stay Visible. Stay Aware. It’s always essential to be as visible as possible to cars and other riders on the road. Bike lights are a cheap and easy tool to boost your visibility, and bright or reflective colored clothing will help, too. Be cognizant of cars, other riders and pedestrians around you, and take special care to stay out of vehicles’ blind spots. Make yourself heard when approaching or passing other riders or pedestrians with a bell or by announcing “passing on your left.” Just like driving in a car, reducing distractions and remaining constantly aware of your surroundings while riding a bike are important measures to staying safe on the road. Parents can learn more about keeping kids safe with this Safety Fact Sheet.
Obey the Rules of the Road and Use Hand Signals. Being a predictable rider is key in maintaining your safety on the road. Bike with the direction of traffic and obey all traffic laws as if you were driving a car (yes, that means even stopping at stop signs). Using hand signals to alert other riders and cars of your intentions. Clear communication on the road is paramount.
Know Your Route. Know Your Route. Know your route before you ride. One of the biggest barriers that keep people from riding is an uneasiness or lack of knowledge of the safest routes. Use the RTC’s bike map to determine what roads have bike lanes. Check out the Neon to Nature app to find off-street trails where you can ride your bike.
Have Fun! Many of us are seeing more riders than ever on local lanes, paths and trails. The mental and physical benefits of riding are extra important during this stressful time. For those who must still commute, bike riding is a more appealing option than ever. Get into the habit of riding your bike and when life starts to look a little more normal again, it’ll just be part of your regular routine!
Here are some fun coloring activities that will help teach kids bike safety:
How to Check Your Bike (Kids Activity Page)
Safe Bicycle Riding (Kids Activity Page)
Wear Your Helmet the Right Way (Kids Activity Page)