Bicycle Safety: Responsible Cycling Precautions

Riding your bike is a great way to stay in shape and reduce pollution being emitted into the air, but it is crucial to understand bicycle safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 500,000 people are treated in the emergency room due to bicycle-related accidents. In addition, more than 700 people die each year from bicycle injuries. These are astonishing statistics that can, and should, be decreased with the use of bicycle safety. Education is the strongest tool to change behavior and improve safety skills, so be sure to continue to educate your friends and family on bicycle safety tips.

The first step in committing to bicycle safety is responsibility. It is pertinent that each cyclist understands the dangers that can occur when riding a bike irresponsibly. The following are the bicycle safety rules and terminology provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT):

  • Shared Roadway: This is a roadway that is open to both bicycle and motor vehicle travel. This is normally seen as a wide curb lane, or a road with paved shoulders. Be aware of the vehicles around you and always ensure that you are moving with traffic as opposed to against it.
  • Bicycle Lane: This is a lane designated solely for the cyclists. This lane will be marked with pavement markings. It is still important to remember to use hand signals while riding in a bicycle lane in order to prevent collisions with other cyclists.
  • Shared Use Path: This path may be used by cyclists, skaters, joggers and other non-motorized users. It is important to remain at a slower speed while cycling in the shared use path due to the amount of pedestrians and traffic flow.

With these different paths in mind, the most important bicycle safety tool to remember is to be aware of your surroundings. Many bikers prefer to tune out and listen to music while cycling. This is fine as long as you are familiar with the path and the guidelines that come with it. When riding at night, regardless of the chosen path, it is extremely important to remember to wear reflectors on your clothing, as well as on your bicycle.

Make sure to always bike safely to prevent hurting yourself or others. Also, be sure to stay up-to-date with Arizona’s bicycle laws.