Bicycle accidents are often caused by vehicles or, more specifically, by driver inattention. However, bicyclists also have a responsibility to stay safe on the road. Some bicyclists do take unnecessary risks, even though a car-bicyclist collision is far more likely to seriously harm the bicyclist rather than the driver. There are several things that bicyclists can do to stay safer:
1) Watch out for more than cars. Although most serious spinal cord injuries, broken bones, fatalities, and brain injuries occur when bicyclists are in collisions with cars, bicyclists can also be serious injured when they fall off their bike or encounter an obstacle. Keep an eye out for uneven terrain and for animals as well as other potential problems on the road.
2) Get to know your bicycle routes. It pays to hike your routes before you bicycle them. That way, you can spot potential dangers as well as lights, stop signs, and other things you need to be aware of.
3) Wear knee pads as well as a helmet each time you bike. The helmet guards you against brain injuries, but the knee pads will save you many scrapes and bumps as well as more serious bone and joint injuries.
4) Get mirrors on your bicycle. This is especially important if you plan on bicycling along busier streets, where you need to keep an eye on traffic. Even if you bike along quiet streets or trails, however, keeping aware of everything around you can help you prevent accidents, and mirrors allow you to stay more alert.
5) Do not get distracted while bicycling. Do not try to talk on your cell phone or listen to music when you bike. Just like a driver, your full attention needs to be on the road and on potential dangers in front of you.