Valerie Topete knows that at any moment during her everyday job, she could be seriously injured if she takes her attention from what she’s doing for even a split second. Topete is a bike courier in New York City. She has ridden through the choked streets and crowded sidewalks and bike lanes of the city for seven years.
She worked first on a freelance basis before her reputation for delivery time and safety earned her a place at Mercury Rises, a local bike delivery and messaging company. Here are a few of her tips for making bike deliveries on time without risking your life:
Wear a helmet. We all know you look cooler with no helmet, but as Valerie Topete knows, wearing one can save your life. Although Topete has never been involved in a serious collision on a bike, she knows plenty of people who have and would have been seriously injured or worse if they didn’t have their helmet on.
When in doubt, use navigation. Don’t be afraid to use satellite navigation services like Google Maps to plot your course. Valerie Topete has even invested in a biking navigation app that plots fast, safe bike routes for users.
Know your hand signals and use them. Cars avoid bikes much better when they know where they’re going. Know your right turn, left turn, and stop hand signals at minimum before you venture out on the road.
Valerie Topete has made a career out of delivering parcels, letters, legal documents, and other sensitive materials from the top of her bike.