As a bike courier for Mercury Rising, Valerie Topete has an exceptional safety record and has never been involved in any traffic collisions, barring the occasional small scrape with taxis. To maintain this record for safety, she makes sure to refresh her knowledge of security while road cycling on a regular basis, which is particularly important given that she works in New York. These pointers will prove useful for anybody who is wary of cycling on the road, particularly in built-up areas that are often congested with traffic.
Avoid The Sidewalk
A lot of new cyclists try to ride on the sidewalk, rather than the road, in an effort to avoid collisions with vehicles. This is not only dangerous to yourself and pedestrians, but may also lead to you breaking the law in some states. Avoid the sidewalk whenever you can and make sure to get off the bike if you have to use the it. Remember that trying to weave in and out of groups of pedestrians is extremely difficult at the best of times, but is much more so when doing it at high speed on a bicycle.
Make Eye Contact
One of the key challenges that faces cyclists is ensuring that other road users recognize their presence so that potential accidents can be avoided before they happen. Though you may find it a little uncomfortable at first, by making eye contact with drivers, especially when at stop signs or traffic lights, you make sure that they are aware of your presence. You don’t need to get into a staring match, as a look and a smile should be more than enough to suffice and keep you in their minds as they pull away.
Always Wear A Helmet
One of the first safety tips that any cyclist will be given is to always wear a helmet, even on the shortest rides. This is particularly important for road users and may save your life if you are involved in a collision. Hard concrete hurts and hitting it at speed can lead to traumatic injuries that, in the worst case scenario, could have a dramatic impact on the way that you live your life. Always be sure to invest in a quality bike helmet and make sure that it fits before taking it out on the road.
Wear Light Clothing
Valerie Topete points out that cycling at night presents a range of challenges that you won’t face during the day, the biggest of which is maintaining visibility. Always make sure to wear light-colored clothing when you are out on the road so that drivers can easily see where you are. Reflective stripes and other high-visibility clothing will also be able to offer additional protection.