The recent warm Indianapolis weather has offered wonderful opportunities for outdoor exercise and activity. Running, basketball, soccer and especially bicycle riding fill the warm spring days. The increased number of cyclists on the streets can result in tragic accidents for those who do not put safety first. In fact, Indiana bike accidents are a serious matter. In 2007, there were 15 bicycle-related fatalities in Indiana.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nationwide, 43,000 people were injured in bicycle-related accidents in 2007. They also report that 700 people died that same year from injuries that occurred in bike mishaps.
There are several easy steps to take to ensure your fun and safety.
1. Purchase a headlight. Just as new cars have “running lights” so they will be visible, bicyclists can benefit from the same technology.
2. Slow Down! City traffic, busy intersections and parked cars all offer risks to bicycle riders. Turning cars and open doors are obstacles that are easier to avoid at appropriate speeds.
3. Ride with traffic. Bicycle riders on the street are a part of traffic and should obey all traffic laws. Red lights, stop signs and crosswalks apply to cyclists and automotive traffic, alike.
4. Wear a helmet. One of the greatest dangers for any cyclist is a head injury. A helmet is the greatest piece of safety equipment a rider can purchase.
5. Wear appropriate clothing. If you ride at night, wear lightly colored clothing and a reflective vest. This simple precaution makes the rider more visible to motorists.
6. Use bike paths. Many parks and recreational areas offer paths designed for runners, walkers and bike riders. If you ride recreationally, use them. They are much safer than riding in city traffic.