Riding a bicycle is a great way to enjoy summer in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts and get your daily exercise. When you ride, it’s important to be as safe as possible. Use these safety tips to your advantage.
Wear a helmet and other protective gear
Wearing a helmet and other safety gear can protect you when you ride your bicycle. All riders 16 and younger must wear a helmet, but it’s good practice to wear one regardless of your age. Make sure it’s properly fitted.
Follow all road rules
Always follow the rules of the road just like motor vehicles. Stay in your lane, ride with traffic and don’t pass other vehicles from the right.
Remain alert at all times while riding. This means you should keep your eyes on the road and avoid getting distracted. Don’t use earphones to listen to music while on your bicycle. If you get a phone call or text, stop your bike in a safe place and then answer.
One of the biggest causes of car accidents is alcohol consumption. Riding a bicycle can be dangerous if you drink and become intoxicated. Avoid alcohol so you can safely get to your destination and back.
Make eye contact
Too often, drivers fail to see people on bicycles, which leads to accidents. While sharing the road with cars, make eye contact with drivers. When you do this, they’ll know you’re there, which might increase your safety.
Wear appropriate clothing while riding. Clothes that are brightly colored are easier to see in both daylight and at night.
Use lights and hand signals
Using lights at night or in inclement weather helps you to be more visible to drivers and can help reduce bicycle accidents. Use hand signals whenever necessary so that drivers know what to anticipate.
Use bike lanes and designated bike paths when possible
If your area has designated bike lanes, you should use them. It could reduce the risk of a potential accident with a car.
Check out some of the wonderful local bike paths along the Merrimack River, and the Freeman Rail Trail winding through Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford and Acton.
Riding a bicycle doesn’t have to be dangerous. It can be a fun and safe activity for all ages. Enjoy a safe summer!