Biking is a popular outdoor activity that promotes health benefits, eco-friendly transportation, and appreciation for nature. However, when combined with busy roads and heavy traffic, biking can be challenging and dangerous. Here are some tips to prevent accidents while biking in the presence of vehicles.

1. Always wear a helmet! Although Minnesota law doesn’t require you to wear helmets, it is strongly advised to do so, as it can reduce or prevent the severity of a head and brain injury in the event of a crash. More than 90% of bicycle riders who fail to wear helmets are killed when involved in a car accident. There are many situations in which a helmet can make the difference between life and death.

2. Make sure to recognize roadway laws and bicycle hand signals. Bicyclists need to obey the same rules as vehicles when traveling near highways. Be sure to pay attention to your surroundings at all times, as cars travel at a much faster speed than bicycles can. Blinkers aren’t available to alert drivers when you are making a turn, so it’s crucial for you to use the correct hand signals! They serve as an obvious indication to other drivers about your direction, and they help maintain traffic safety. 

3. Utilize the bike lanes! There are many streets in Minnesota that have been equipped with bike lanes. The bike lanes allow for bicyclists to remain safe and out of the stream of traffic. These lanes should always and only be used by bicyclists.

4. Wear high-visibility clothing. Drivers can have a difficult time seeing bicyclists due to their size relative to vehicles and the much slower speed at which they travel. It’s recommended that bicyclists wear bright, reflective clothing so that visibility is prominent. Bicyclists should also have head and tail lamps to ensure extra safety.

5. Stay on the right side of the road and never bike against the stream of traffic. This is extremely important, as it will help to avoid severe head-on crashes.

6. Be attentive of your surroundings and aware of your limitations. This is even more important when biking in areas that are more congested with vehicles and pedestrians. Distracted driving continues to be an issue, so bicyclists should exercise caution and make sure that drivers acknowledge their presence on the roads. As a result, you can increase the safety of all people traveling — drivers and bicyclists alike. 

Biking is not only a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but also a convenient way of traveling. Due to the vulnerability and unknown safety that accompanies biking, it is important to follow these guidelines to prevent an injury or an accident. If you or someone you know has been in a biking accident with a vehicle, please see our website at nelsonpersonalinjury.com for a free case evaluation.