You know that the very first recorded car crash in America occurred when a car struck a bicycle in 1896? Ever since then, we have strived to improve safety with cars and bicycles sharing the road. Despite all efforts bicycle fatalities related to a car accident are still occurring. According to the NHTSA, the latest bicycle accident statistics recorded 716 bicyclists were killed and an additional 52,000 were injured in traffic crashes in 2008.
Bicyclists have just as much of responsibility as drivers on the road to riding safe. The NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration produced this bicycle safety video to help you not become a statistic while riding your bike.
Before you even get on the road with your bicycle, you need to select the proper bike and safety equipment fit for you.
Pick the correct type of bike for the way you want to ride. There are several different types of bikes specifically designed for a particular type of riding whether on or off-road or short or long trips. Just to name a few type of bikes: mountain, sport, racing and touring.
Also make sure the bike is the correct size. For a road bike, ensure that the top tube of the bike is at least one to two inches away from you when you are on the bike with your feet on the ground. For a mountain bike, five inches of clearance above the bike is needed for safety.
The seat should be adjusted in height so that your leg is slightly bent when it is extended with the pedal at its lowest position.
A bicycle helmet is a necessary and in some areas a required piece of safety equipment to protect your head in the event of a crash or fall. The helmet should properly fit by being comfortably snug, it should not shift in any way and should sit on your forehead two finger widths from the brim to your eyebrows. The v-strap on the side should not be touching your ear and be pointed down below your ear. The chin strap should be snug and secure at all times.
If you need to ride at night or in low-light conditions, you need to use a white front light on your handle bars and a red rear light that is usually positioned right below your seat, use reflectors on the bike and if possible on your clothing and wear light colored clothing so drivers can easily see you.
If you are unsure about any of the safety equipment, accessories or maintenance, it is highly recommended that you visit a reputable bike shop and get assistance with selecting the perfect bike and equipment you need to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.