Using human power rather than gas to get around makes a lot of sense, especially in Gainesville and Ocala where the weather is great for biking. Safety is a big concern, though, even in the quietest neighborhoods.
When a vehicle strikes a biker, there is nothing between the biker and the road, and the risk of serious injury is very high. When biking it’s always best to buddy up, and bike with a friend. Let others know where you are going, and what route you plan to take.
What you wear while biking can save your life. Keep some key guidelines in mind before you set out on your ride.
- Wear a helmet. While a helmet doesn’t guarantee you won’t have a head injury, it is proven that helmets minimize injury significantly. Your chances of surviving a fall are much greater if you use head protection.
- Reflective clothing, and light or fluorescent colors are important, especially if you bike during dim hours such as early morning or evening. Drivers may not see riders who wear darker colors that blend into the scenery.
- Wear the proper eye gear. Sun glare is as much a problem for bikers as it is for drivers. Be sure that you have the proper goggles or glasses and can see drivers, the roadway, and any obstacles.
- Keep brightly colored waterproof gear on hand. Biking in the rain can be unsafe for the biker, and for drivers who may not see the biker in limited visibility.
- Always carry an ID. If you do have an accident, emergency personnel will know who you are. Keep a few dollars cash on hand just in case.
- Carry enough water and sun block for proper hydration and skin care.
- Install mirrors that allow you to be aware of upcoming drivers, passing vehicles, or other bikers. Seeing front and rear is important.
- Make sure your bike lights are adequate. Front and rear lights that are large enough and bright enough to be clearly seen are essential.
- Carry an emergency repair kit. Make sure your bike is equipped with patches, an air pump, and the tools you need for repairs that will keep you from being stranded in a remote location.
- Keep your phone handy, for obvious reasons. You may need to make an emergency call.
- Know and follow the rules of the road. Drivers may be unable to stop for bikers who go through stop signs or signals. Drive with traffic, not against it, and follow the directions of the lanes. Don’t drive through a right turn only lane, and be cautious about making left turns in traffic. Don’t pass vehicles on the right. Slow moving vehicles may be preparing to turn, and may not see you.
- Don’t switch between the street and sidewalk. Behave as you would if you were driving your car.
- Make big, clear hand signals that motorists can see, even if they aren’t the old hand signals you learned as a child. If necessary, shout to get the attention of motorists.
- Be ready to yield the right of way. Put safety first. Likewise, adjust your route if you can’t ride safely with traffic.
Biking is a fun and efficient way to get around, but it isn’t risk free. If you or a loved one is injured in a biking accident, get immediate legal advice. A skilled lawyer can make all the difference in making sure you are taken care of.