Taking precautions to make sure you are visible while cycling is an easy way to help keep you and others on the roads safe. Whether cycling during the day or cycling at night, being seen is important. Here are some quick tips for staying visible while cycling:
Wearing bright, fluorescent clothing is always a must. Try wearing neon colors like bright yellow, orange and/or pink. This way, you’ll stand out. If you don’t have anything bright, purchasing a fluorescent vest can be an easy solution. They’re often lightweight so it can be worn in the summer’s heat or added over your layers to keep you warm in the winter.
Buy clothing that also has some kind of reflectors. If you are purchasing a jacket to wear in the rain or to wear at night, a reflective strip is key. As headlights shine on you, it will be clear to the driver there is a cyclist also on the road. Again, a vest can be an easy solution. These often have reflecting strips. Then, no matter the weather, you can just add the vest over your clothing.
Add Lights to Your Bicycle
Adding lights to your bicycle will help others see you easily, especially if you enjoy cycling when it’s dark out. A flashing light in the front and the back of the bicycle will help increase the chances of a vehicle or other cyclist seeing you. You can even add lights to your tires! These often come in different patterns and colors.
Keep to your lane rather than swerving through traffic. If you are weaving between cars, you’re more likely to be hit because the driver didn’t see you ahead. Don’t make sudden stops. If you’re stopped at a light, don’t stop in a driver’s blind spot. He or she may not know you are there when the light turns green, which can then result in an accident.
Point to Where You’re Going
Many drivers may not recognize traditional cyclist hand signals. Instead, point in the direction you are turning to. It’ll be easier for others on the road to understand exactly what you are doing, rather than misunderstanding a traditional cyclist hand signal.
Get Familiar With Your Route
If you want to begin night riding, try your route a couple times during the day. This way you’ll become familiar with it. You’ll know where you may need to stop or move into a different lane to avoid a pothole or other obstacles. Then, when you begin riding at night you won’t need to worry about suddenly having to move into a new lane since you will know ahead of time.
Safety in Numbers
Two cyclists are easier to see than one. Find a buddy (or multiple buddies!) to ride with you. Not only will your safety increase, you’ll likely get a better workout in. Studies have found people who workout in groups tend to ride faster and longer, pushing themselves since they are in a group setting. If you cannot find someone to ride with you, try going on popular cycling routes. If there’s others out then drivers along the route will likely be more attentive.
Wearing clear glasses (or sun glasses if it’s bright out) will help keep debris and water out of your eyes. You’ll then be able to concentrate on where you’re going and what’s around you by avoiding blurry vision from wind, rain, sand, etc. getting into your eyes.
Decorate Your Helmet
Because you should always wear your helmet, making it both bright and reflective is an easy solution for increasing your visibility. Add some reflective stripes or lights in addition to some bright colored stickers if your helmet is white or black. Then you’ll know you’re always be wearing something to help increase your chances of being seen. Plus, light on your helmet can also help you see what is ahead as you ride at night.
Follow Traffic Laws
Ride with the flow of traffic. As you approach a light or stop sign, stop as needed. If you ride through a stop sign at an intersection then you may be in an accident with a driver that had the right of away and assumed you’d stop. If you ride like you would drive then you’ll seamlessly fit in with the flow of traffic, keeping you safer.
Ride in the Middle
Always ride in the middle of the lane so you will be noticed. If you are riding on the edge of a lane, you it’ll be harder for a driver to see you. This is especially true if you end up in their blind spot. If you are in the middle of the lane, they can’t miss you. The more space you take up, the more visible you become.
Make Eye Contact
If you are at an intersection, make eye contact with the other drivers. If you can’t then you’ll know they are unaware you are there. If you do make eye contact, try to read their body language. This can help tell if they are going to move or wait for you to move first. If you are unsure, try to wave them on so they know to go and you can then safely proceed without worrying they will cut into your path.
Avoid the Right
Passing a car on the right can result in a “right hook”. This is when a car makes a right turn while you are riding straight. Often, it begins when you are on the right, in a driver’s blind spot. If you come to a stop at an intersection, it’s best to wait between cars instead.
Don’t Assume You’re Being Noticed
Even after taking these measures, you cannot assume that every driver will see you. If you assume drivers are noticing you, then you’ll become less alert. There are many distractions for drivers. Always stay attentive to what is happening around you. You never know when you’ll have to swerve out of the way to avoid a driver that is not paying attention.