Bicycle on trails at sunset

Practical bicycle riding safety tips

Roseville, Calif.- May is National Bike Month and Roseville offers some of Northern California’s best suburban trail riding opportunities. Warm weather has finally arrived and cyclists are out enjoying perfect conditions. In this installment of Safety First, the Roseville PD is offering up tips below to ensure a safe and fun experience.

Each year in the United States almost a thousand cyclists are killed due to falls from their bikes or from collisions with a vehicle. Thousands more are injured. There are several ways you can reduce the chances of this happening to you, your children, or grandchildren.

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Reduce your risk

  • Wear a helmet.
    Never ride your bicycle without a helmet. Wearing a bicycle helmet is not only smart–it’s required by law if you’re under age 18. Vehicle Code Section 21212 prohibits persons under 18 from riding or being a passenger on a bicycle without wearing helmets meeting specified standards (ANSI or SNELL). Learn how to select and properly fit a bike helmet on the City website and search for “Bike Safety Tips.”
  • Be prepared before you ride.
  • Make sure the bike you’re riding fits you. If the bike is too big, it’s harder to control.
  • Make sure the bike, especially the brakes, works properly.
  • In addition to your helmet, wear bright clothes to be easily visible. If riding at night or during poor visibility, wear reflective clothing and have a working white light at front and red rear light along with reflectors on your bike.
  • Ride with both hands on the handlebars, unless giving a turn signal.
  • If you’re carrying items on your bike with you, keep them in a backpack, or strapped to the back of the bike.
  • If wearing shoes with laces or long pants, make sure to tuck in the laces and put your pant legs inside your socks to ensure they don’t get caught in your bike chain.
  • Plan the route you’re going to take. Choose road routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Always use a bike path if available, but if not, always stay in the bike lane where marked.
  • Reduce your risk of being involved in accidents.

There are two main categories of biking accidents. The most common is falling from your bike as a result of going too fast, misjudging a bend, or not seeing an obstacle that you hit. All of these may be avoided by slowing down and focusing on what is ahead of you.

The other common cause of bike accidents, and usually the more serious, is crashes with cars. In this category, failing to yield the right of way is the primary cause, followed by cyclists not being easily visible.

Some obvious rules to follow are:

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Obey street signs, traffic signals and road markings, as you would when driving a car.
  • Always assume other road users don’t see you.
  • Look out for road hazards that might make you fall like stones, potholes, gaps in rail tracks and drainage grates.
  • Remove all distractions. No texting, listening to music or anything else that distracts you by taking your focus off the road and traffic.

Riding a bicycle is fun and a great form of exercise for all ages. Just remember to review these safety tips before you head out on your ride.

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