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Three Things Bicyclists Can Do to Avoid Accidents

In recent years, the popularity of cycling has increased dramatically in the United States. Whether it is to save the environment, to save money, or to save your health, more adults are riding bicycles now than ever before. Unfortunately, that also means that there has been a corresponding increase in the number of bicycle-involved accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 818 bicyclists died on U.S. roads in 2015, an increase of 12.2 per cent and the highest number since 1995. That same year, 45,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents. If you are an avid cyclist, safety should be your number one concern. With that in mind, consider the following three things bicyclists can do to avoid accidents.

Use Reflective Gear

With the dramatic increase in the number of people riding bicycles these days, and the corresponding increase in the average age of cyclists, an entire industry has developed that caters to them. Safety gear for both you and your bicycle can be easily located. Reflective gear, in particular, should be used to increase your visibility to motorists when riding. Everything from reflective wheel stripes, seats and spokes to reflective shoes, gloves, and hats can be purchased. You simply cannot have too much reflective gear when cycling.

Obey Traffic Laws and Drive Defensively

All states require bicyclists to follow the same rules and laws as motorists. Make sure you know what those laws are and abide by them when cycling. Stop at stop lights and only cross the street at intersections. Unfortunately, no matter how well you adhere to the rules of the road, motorists may not see you and/or may not realize that you have the same right they do. Because of this, it is equally important to drive defensively. Assume that the vehicles with which you share the road do not see you Furthermore, assume that they will not grant you the right of way, even if you are legally entitled to it.

Keep Your Bicycle in Good Working Order

When your vehicle needs an oil change or the tires are bald, you probably take care of it right away. The same mentality is important when it comes to your bicycle because a faulty or non-functioning part could be the impetus for an accident. Make sure your bike is the ride size and fit to begin with as it is difficult to control a bicycle that is too big for you. Also, take a few minutes to inspect your bicycle before you ride to make sure the tires have sufficient air, the brakes are working properly, and that any lights you have are functioning. Every few months, do a more thorough inspection and replace or repair any parts that are worn out or broken.

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