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Staying safe while riding a bicycle

Every day, New Jersey residents enjoy the convenience, exercise and fun that comes from riding a bike. For some, it is a reliable mode of transportation. For others, it could be a way to exercise, a competitive endeavor or an outlet to recharge and enjoy the fresh air. However, cycling accidents can and do happen. Every cyclist has to be actively aware of impending dangers, mindful of their own behavior and committed to practicing safe cycling habits to reduce their chances of being involved in a serious accident. 

Because cyclists share the road with motorists, the distraction, carelessness and mistakes of others are sometimes unavoidable. NJ.com reported a story on May 23, 2015, where a bicyclist was significantly injured after being struck by a semi-truck. Investigators discovered that when the truck’s driver had tried to make a left-hand turn, the sun’s glare impeded his visibility and he unknowingly turned into the path of the cyclist. This story is an illustration of the necessity for bicyclists to be aware of their surroundings, even if they have the right-of-way or are cycling into a seemingly open intersection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest some important tips that can keep cyclists safe and protected while enjoying a bike ride. These include the following:

  •          Cyclists should always wear a helmet, and make sure it is properly fitted to their head for maximum protection.
  •          When available, cyclists should utilize bike lanes to stay clear of roadway traffic.
  •          Parents should encourage their children to stay on the sidewalk and stop at all street crossings.
  •          Cyclists should invest in reflective gear and clothing instead of relying on bright-colored clothing that still lacks necessary visibility.

Following all traffic laws is another critical suggestion for optimal safety. Vigilant cyclists will stay on the right side of the road, use hand signals when turning, stop completely before entering any street crossing and observe all traffic signals, signs and warnings.

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