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Professionally sized bike is one of the road cycling safety tips

Road Cycling Safety Tips To Keep You Alive

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I don’t know if any of you have been in a road cycling accident. I have. It was back in the days before bike helmets were even a thing. I was biking to St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto where I worked as a dietitian. Because of the traffic, I cycled very close to the curb, so close in fact that my front tire got caught in a sewer grate and threw me head first onto the sidewalk.

What stands out after 30 plus years is the feel of my head smashing into unforgiving pavement. A black eye (the only one I’ve had) was the least of my worries. What I did endure was several years of sudden blackouts that I can only attribute to the head injury. It took me some time to get my mojo back but I never gave up my love of bike riding. And I never want to be in a bike accident again. These 20 road cycling safety tips, if you practice them, should prevent you from becoming an accident statistic.

Updated April 2022. This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for your support.

Cycling through beautiful farm country just outside of Peterborough
Cycling single file through beautiful farm country just outside of Peterborough

Ride a bicycle that fits. It it’s too big you’re setting yourself up for a mishap.

Tune your bike regularly. Pay close attention to your brakes, chain and gears. Keep your tires correctly inflated.

One of the hugely important road cycling safety tips is to wear a proper fitting helmet. If it’s not sitting appropriately on your head (eg It’s too far back and I can see your entire forehead) it won’t do you much good. I also like a sun visor built into the helmet so I have less eye strain in bright sunlight.

Assume drivers don’t see you. In this age of texting that’s going to be far more common than ever before.

Wear bright coloured clothing. I find fluorescent green is the colour that stands out from a distance in natural light. Wear reflective clothing at night.

Beware of parked cars. They make me more nervous than a moving car. I always give them a wide berth as I can’t tell you how many times drivers and passengers have opened a car door without checking for bikes beforehand.

Forget the phone – one of the most important road cycling safety tips

Put down the phone when you’re biking. If you have to make a call or text, pull over and stop your bike to do so.

Ride single file. I am in awe at the chances so many cyclists take riding two abreast on busy roads. It’s just not worth the risk.

Ride single file to stay safe on the roads
Ride single file to stay safe on the roads

Use hand signals to indicate you are turning or stopping.

Don’t wear headphones.

Be alert to electric bikes, especially when you’re about to turn. I find they appear out of nowhere when you don’t expect them.

Ensure you have lights on your bike – in the front and the back.

Put a bell on your bike to prevent bike – pedestrian and bike – bike collisions. More options here.

Ride to the conditions. If it’s raining, braking takes longer. Pump your brakes for a smoother stop.

Ride to the conditions means slowing down in the rain
Ride to the conditions means slowing down in the rain – Photo credit: Genaro Servin on Pexels

Don’t wear loosely worn scarves. If you have long shoe laces, double knot them so they don’t get caught in the chain.

Wear bike gloves for a better grip.

Watch for animals on the road. I for one have had to avoid snakes, birds, deer, squirrels and bighorn sheep.

Watch for animals both large and small on the road
Watch for animals both large and small on the road

Pay close attention to the condition and hazards of the road. Be particularly wary of sewer grates, train tracks, cracks in the pavement and glass.

Watch your speed. It should go without saying but obey traffic laws.

Don’t be that jerk on a bike that gives the rest of us a bad name. Be courteous to fellow cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

20 Road Cycling Safety Tips
Road cycling safety – stop and get off your bike if you want to use your phone – Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels

I hope to be riding my bike into my 80’s – without any further accidents.

20 Road Cycling Safety Tips
I got my bike professionally sized so it fits me properly

Should you ever be in an accident here’s what you need to know about bicycle accident claims.

Further reading on biking in Canada

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

20 road cycling safety tips to keep you alive


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