By Alex Francis
With the average price of gas up nearly 50 cents since last month, the idea of parking the car and taking to the streets by bike is starting to sound better and better. No more bank-account-draining trips to the gas station, no more time spent trying to find a place to park, and no more hours wasted in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And on top of all that, you get in a great workout. What’s not to like?
While we are big advocates of road bikes, fixie bikes, beach cruisers, and all other human-powered modes of transportation, we are also big fans of being alive. And if you have ever tried to bike down a busy street during rush hour (or have seen someone else doing so from your car), then you know just how dangerous of an endeavor it can be. Here are a few cardinal rules of urban cycling that will help keep you safe as you pedal down the road.
1. Wear a helmet. This should be a no-brainer, because if you don’t wear a helmet you may very well end up with no brain. (Pun very much intended.) According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, you are 14 times more likely to be killed in a crash if you are not wearing a helmet, and 91% of cyclists killed in 2009 were not wearing helmets. Simply putting a helmet on your head before you get on your bike reduces your risk of head injury in an accident by 85%. It may not be the most fashionable accessory, but it’s definitely an important one.
2. Be predictable. If a driver can predict what you’re going to do and where you’re going to be, they can more easily avoid hitting you. That means signaling turns and lane changes, stopping at stop signs, and never riding against traffic. And don’t worry if a car has to slow down behind you—it can pass you when it’s safe, and the few seconds that you cost them on your commute are in no way worth more than your life.
3. Stay visible. Along the same lines as being predictable, if a driver can see you, then he/she is much less likely to hit you. In addition to fitting lights and reflectors on the front and back of your bike, wearing bright, reflective clothing like ML Kishigo’s vests and shirts is an easy way to make your presence known. And if reflective clothing is just too flashy for you, you might want to try accessories like Liberty Bags’ Union Square Backpack with reflective piping or Outdoor Cap’s Reflective Cap.
Helmets and reflective clothing may not be on the cutting edge of fashion, but wearing them can save your life. And besides, you can always wear your normal clothes underneath and look just as fabulous when you arrive at your destination. So before you embark on your next cycling adventure, take the time to protect yourself and check out all of the reflective safety gear available at Clothing Shop Online.