Cycling, whether as a hobby or for daily commutes, is experiencing an uptick in Los Angeles. LA residents are ditching their cars for bicycles to be a little bit greener, save on fuel, or just for the convenience. However, LA has one of the most dangerous streets, and bicycle accidents are pretty common. Keep safety in mind when riding your bike or you might need a lawyer or a doctor.
Wear the Gear
Unlike cars, bikes don’t surround you in a 2-ton hunk of metal nor does it come with a seatbelt. With no safety features aside from the brake, you need to provide some of your own. Wear safety gear, no matter how short your commute. A helmet is essential, but you should also consider wearing protection for knees and shin as well as your elbows. Safety gear can mean the difference between life and death or severe injuries and bumps and scratches. They might not look good on your way to work, so keep bring your work clothes in a bag and change in the office. That way, you keep the sweat and pollution of your clothes and stay safe on your ride.
Getting seen at night is essential for cyclists, but getting seen during the daytime is equally crucial. People driving in cars tend not to notice smaller vehicles around them, such as bikes, motorcycles, and motorized scooters. Drivers are juggling various information in their minds, and smaller vehicles are subconsciously ignored because they pose very little danger to someone driving a car. The phenomenon of inattentional blindness is quite common, causing a lot of drivers to fail to see cyclists until it’s too late. Daytime bike lights can somewhat make you more visible, and a study in Denmark reported that it could reduce accidents by 19 percent. Riding with a group also increases your visibility, so try to make a few friends on your daily trips.
Know Your Route
Stick to your route as much as you can. A constant course familiarizes you to every twist and turn of the roads as well as whatever obstacles there may be. Yes, this can be quite boring, but boring is safe. Knowing what’s up ahead also allows your mind to focus on other vehicles and cyclists around you.
Vigilance, Vigilance, Vigilance
Ditch those headphones or earpieces; your bike ride isn’t the time to listen to music or talk on the phone. Getting distracted while driving on LA traffic can lead to a fender-bender. Getting distracted while cycling can send you to the hospital. Don’t expect others to see you or avoid you. Putting your fate in the hands of others is a recipe for disaster and a mark of recklessness. Keep your eyes and ears open and expect the unexpected.
Safety should always be your utmost priority. Cyclists are quite vulnerable on the road, and a few seconds of inattention can have severe repercussions. Take every safety measure you can and keep your mind focused on the road.