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Safety tips for bike commuters

Your bike is not just a hobby. It's your main means of transportation. You ride it to and from work almost every day, rain or shine.

You know this puts you at risk. Bike accidents involving cars have a vastly higher probability of injuring you than the person in the car. You need to take steps to stay safe and avoid accidents. These tips can help:

  • Use the lane, rather than sticking to the curb. You may think it's safer to hug the curb, but the reality is that a lot of drivers just see this as an invitation to pass. This puts cars very close to you. Instead, use the bike lane when it exists and ride in the travel lane when needed. You have the same right to the road as a car.
  • Be confident. Understand that you are allowed to use the road and drivers must respect that. Don't do risky things -- like riding on the sidewalk -- because you lack confidence.
  • Use hand signals. Tell drivers where you're going. Miscommunication can lead to a crash, so make it very clear what your intentions are.
  • Invest in some good bike lights. Going to and from work means you have to ride near dawn and dusk. Make sure drivers can see you. It may also be wise to wear bright clothing or put on a reflective vest over your business attire.

These tips can help, but drivers still make mistakes and cause accidents with cyclists. If you suffer injuries in a bicycle crash, make sure you understand all of your legal rights.

Source: Cycling Weekly, "Top tips for commuting to work by bike," Nigel Wynn, accessed May 17, 2018

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