We know it’s still winter, but with the New Year behind us and spring right around the corner it’s only a matter of time before that snow begins to melt and bicycle enthusiasts can return to enjoying our Virginia roads. But before you get too excited, here are eleven important things that every Virginia bicycle rider should have before they wheel that bike out from storage and let it thaw in the sun.
- Helmet – Before choosing to purchase something to protect your wonderful brain, make sure that the helmet has a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sticker on it, verifying that it meets certain minimum safety standards. The helmet should fit snug and feel secure, and make sure to look for any cracks or structural weaknesses before you buy.
- Pocket First-Aid Kit – Fill this little guy with band-aids, alcohol wipes, gauze, tape, and anti-bacterial cream to make sure that if you hit the concrete, you have what it takes to patch up and keep riding.
- Emergency, Medical and Personal Identification – Wherever you go on your two wheels, make sure you have proper identification, as well as personal and medical information on your person. There are a few products out there for purchase, but which ever you choose don’t forget to put names, telephone numbers, and any special medications or medical conditions on the slip of paper.
- Eye Protection – Things hurt when they hit you at 30 miles per hour, so make sure you have shatter resistant sunglasses to keep flying debris and insects at bay!
- Pocket Multi-tool – These vary substantially in their comprehensiveness from model to model, so it should be easy to find one that fits your level of cycling enthusiasm. A quality tool will have an allen wrench to change the tires and tighten loose parts, as well as other vital components.
- Mirrors – Just because you’re not a car doesn’t mean you don’t need rear-view mirrors. Equipped either on your handlebars or helmet, mirrors can help ensure that nothing sneaks up on you from behind.
- Gloves – Blisters hurt. So does road rash. Grab a pair of quality gloves to help keep your hands on the handlebar and protect them from that hard concrete only a few feet below.
- Horn or Bell – Alerting people that you’re coming is not only a common courtesy but also a safety precaution. Make sure you’re not speeding by unaware pedestrians on shared paths without giving them a heads up.
- Reflective Clothing – Whether it be reflective leg and arms bands, or a full-on reflective vest, make sure you are visible at night. At the very least, ensure that your bike is equipped with a headlight, tail light and rear reflector.
- Under-Seat Bag – Ideal for long-distance biking, an under-seat bag can hold your first-aid kit, tools, and personal belongings. Usually, the lighter and smaller the better!
- Nightlights – Like reflective clothing, nightlights function to ensure that motor-vehicle drivers and pedestrians can see you in low light conditions, but they will also help you see the road ahead, including road hazards and reflective street signs.
The Virginia bicycle accident lawyer at Parrish Law Firm, PLLC suggests that while you wait for the snow to melt, pick up some of these items to make sure that when that pavement is ready, you will be too.