By Julie Vargo, Editorial Contributor
Florida’s miles of trails and dedicated bicycle lanes make it an ideal place for pedal pushers. But two-wheeling around the community comes with its own set of road hazards.
When a crash occurs between a car and a bike, it’s usually the cyclist who sustains injuries. Children and teens have the highest rate of nonfatal bicycle accidents, while adults aged 50-59 suffer the most fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Many accidents can be avoided if motorists and cyclists pay attention and follow the rules of the road, according to Dr. Sean M. McFadden, a cyclist and surgeon with Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic Orlando Health.
Before you push off, brush up on these basics of bicycle safety.
- Make sure your bike is sized to fit your frame.
- Tune up before you take off. Check the brakes, handlebars, seat and tires prior to every ride.
- A bike helmet helps prevent head injuries. Wear it.
- Choose brightly colored, highly visible clothing.
- Use reflectors and turn bike lights on both day and night.
Rules of the Road
- Obey the same driving rules as cars. Go with the flow of traffic. Observe street signs and signals.
- Anticipate the actions of other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to avoid collisions.
- Be alert. Don’t wear headphones or use your cellphone while biking.
- Don’t ride on the sidewalk. If you have to hop a curb, slow down near driveways. Watch out for cars and pedestrians.
- Map out your route beforehand. Opt for the road less traveled to bypass traffic.
- Pack a flat-tire kit and know how to use it.
- Secure shoelaces and pant legs so they don’t catch in your bike chain.
- Buddy up with another bike rider for safety and visibility.