Bicycle Safety Features
In a previous article, we talked about avoiding bicycle accidents and cycling safety. Here we share some safety features and notes for those of you who like to ride bicycles! At Burton Law, safety for the community is always on our mind.
Let’s talk about the wheels. The wheels of a bike play a very important part in the safety of the bike. The wheel rims ideally should be made of a metal alloy or aluminum. Steel or chrome rims should be avoided for the reason that when wet, brake pads tend to be less abrasive on these surfaces. Aluminum or metal alloy rims have better non-skid properties. While testing the bike, the wheels should spin freely without touching or grating against any other bike parts.
Note that The Consumer Protection Safety Council has a safety standard for the front wheels of all bikes, which requires that the front wheel remains attached to the bike even if all the nuts are removed.
The brakes are one of the most important aspects of a bike. You should make sure that the brakes are functioning well, and not creaking or grating against anything. You can upturn the bike, spin the wheels and depress the hand brakes to test the power of the brakes.
The frame of the bike should be strong and sturdy. You can do an alignment check to see if the front and back wheels are on the same plane as the frame.
Chain guards typically cover the chain of the bike. They are very useful for preventing shoelaces or jean/pant legs from getting caught in the chain or wheels (which can cause you to crash your bike). A good chain guard should cover the chain well and the chain should move smoothly within the guard, and not touch anywhere.
It is recommended that you buy a bike from a bike shop instead of a department store, simply because the bike shop is more likely to be aware of the technicalities of the bike, replacement parts, servicing and other factors that may not even occur to the salespeople in the department store. Bike shops will educate you on the safe use of your particular model.
When riding your bike always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars – ideally two hands at all times for optimal control. Carry items in a bicycle carrier (basket) or backpack.
Avoid road hazards. Be on the lookout for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash. If you are riding with friends and you are in the lead, yell out and point to the hazard to alert the riders behind you.
Keeping your bicycle parts safe and maintained is one aspect of cycling safety. But many bicycle-related crashes resulting in injury or death are associated with the bicyclist’s behavior, including such things as not wearing a bicycle helmet, riding into a street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic that is coming from behind, running a stop sign, and riding the wrong way in traffic.
To maximize your safety. always wear a HELMET, and follow the rules of the road, by also going with the traffic flow and riding on the right — in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow not against it. Obey all traffic laws, as a bicycle is a vehicle and you are a driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane marking. Yield and wait for traffic. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid the dangerous situation. Don’t wear a headset when you ride.
Look before turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic, then signal before making the turn. Watch for left or right turning traffic. Also, watch for parked cars and ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars, like doors opening or cars pulling out. Also, watch for vehicles coming out of or turning into the driveway. Alert pedestrians that you are nearby using a bell or a horn, and passing on the left.
Cities and towns across the country are taking steps to make biking an easier option for their residents, but we need to make sure that it’s a safe option. People hardly think about injuries and crashes when setting off for a bicycle ride, but the statistics show the dangers. We’ll share those in an upcoming article. Until then, Burton Law of Oklahoma City encourages you to keep safety top of mind, no matter whether you are walking, riding, or driving.