Perhaps the world's most famous cycling race recently wrapped up, where after a 23-day period and approximately 2,200 miles traveled, Vincenzo Nibali became the first Italian to win the Tour de France since 1998. And while cycling enthusiasts likely devoted a lot of their free time to watching coverage of the cycling trek, the Tour almost always inspires people to grab their bikes, aiming to accomplish their own feat somewhere down the line.
But talk to any cycling expert, and you're guaranteed to hear that safety is paramount, whether you're looking to become a cycling savant or a weekend road warrior. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some basic tips that you'll definitely want to implement in your bicycle traveling.
1. Always wear a helmet. Fortunately, there are plenty of examples of professional cyclists who wear a helmet. But any old helmet won't due. Ideally, go to a cycling shop so you can be properly fitted according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's standards.
2. Remain alert. Exercise and music go together. In fact, a recent poll found that two in three people opt to cut their workout short if they don't have a pair of earbuds or headphones that they can use while getting in their physical activity. However, save the tunes for the gym. Because it can be difficult to hear cars that are approaching from the rear, it's important to be alert, which you really can't be if your mind and ears are occupied with a podcast or song.
3. Be easy to spot. Even on a bright, sunny day, inattentive drivers may not see you on the side of the road. To prevent this from happening, be sure that you're wearing bright clothing, important during the day but even more crucial at night. In fact, you may want to attach some reflective materials to yourself as well as your bike, which can help catch drivers' eyes.
4. Be predictable. It'd be great if drivers were able to read your mind, knowing where you intend to go before you do it. Until mind reading becomes a reality, be sure that you signal your intentions to motorists on the road. For example, if you want to take a left, extend your arm out pointing in that direction several seconds prior to making the turn. Before you do it, though, ensure that it's safe to do so by checking over your shoulder.
For other cycling safety tips, visit NHTSA's website.
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