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Bicycle Safety Tips for Bay Area Urban Commuters

Biking to work takes wasted time and turns it into exercise, but urban commuting can be dangerous. Here are some tips to help keep you safe while commuting on your bicycle:

  1. Wear a helmet: This may sound obvious, but a helmet can greatly reduce your risk of injury in the event of an accident. Choose a helmet that fits, is safe, and looks cool. If it looks cool, you’ll be more likely to wear it.
  2. Use hand signals: Communicate your intentions to other road users by using hand signals when turning or changing lanes. This helps others anticipate your movements and can prevent accidents. I recommend using jazz hands. I’m not even joking. The ridiculousness of it will catch driver’s attention. If they think you’re a weirdo, that at least means they’re thinking about you not ignoring you.
  3. Follow traffic laws: Obey traffic lights, stop signs, and other road signs and signals as if you were driving a car. Riding on the sidewalk or against traffic can cause cars to not see you because they’re not expecting a bike to be there.
  4. Stay visible: Ride like you’re invisible not like you’re invincible. Copy some Burning Man style and use lights to become a human disco ball. Wear bright or reflective clothing, and at a bare minimum use a rear red flasher and a white front light.
  5. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and pay attention to other road users, including cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Avoid distractions such as listening to music or using your phone while riding. It is illegal to have headphones in both ears so if you’re going to use navigation, go with one ear only.
  6. Keep your bike in good condition: Regularly maintain your bike to ensure that it’s in good working order. Make sure your brakes are working properly, keep your tires properly inflated and check the chain and gears. Braking a chain can lead to injury, or at least a long work pushing a bike.

Ride safely and ride often!

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