For cycle enthusiasts, warmer months mean more time spent on their beloved bicycles. Time spent riding is time well spent for cyclists. However, too many cyclists are encountering a dangerous new phenomenon: the distracted driver.
If you’re a cyclist, it is important that you make yourself visible to drivers while on the road. Here are four ways you can increase your visibility while riding on your bicycle:
1. Dress to stick out
Wearing bright colored clothing may seem obvious, but it does make an impact. Colors such as neon yellow are not found in nature, so wearing it will make you stand out from your surroundings. If you do not want to wear a bright yellow vest, you can add fluorescent accessories like a backpack, hat, or shoes. Any bright flash of color may be enough to snap a driver’s attention back on you.
Unfortunately, wearing neon at night will not do you much good. If you ride at night, you should wear reflective clothing as well as add reflectors to your bike. Consider buying clothing with reflective strips around your ankles and knees. These strips will catch the lights of a car when your feet are pedaling.
2. Bike with your friends
A group of people on a bike attracts more attention than a solo rider. Even if you are riding with just one other person, riding side by side makes you more noticeable on the road. It may also force drivers to wait for you to go by instead of trying to squeeze their vehicles past you.
3. Use bike lights no matter what time of the day
Using bike lights at night is common sense for most serious riders. However, many riders may not be aware that using bike lights during the day can also make your ride safer. A study conducted by The Traffic Research Group in Denmark found that using running lights during the day reduced the accident rate for bicyclists by 19 percent.
4. Follow standard biking rules
Following the rules of the road will keep you safe. If you are riding down a road with a bike lane, ride in the bike lane. Distracted drivers may not notice you if you are not riding in the designated bike lane. When you are getting ready to make a turn, use your arm to signal to cars well before you attempt to move. An arm signal is the appropriate and expected form of communication between a bike rider and a driver. By communicating with the vehicles around you, you are less likely to find yourself in a bad situation.
By making yourself as visible and communicating with the cars around you, you decrease your chances of being involved in an accident. It is the responsibility of both you and the drivers around you to stay aware and alert when on the road.