Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Biking to Work Safely

As I got ready to bike home yesterday, I remembered that, like cars, bicycles need headlights when it gets dark. Luckily, I had already installed both a front light and rear light before my trip home.

During rides at night, you should have two lights to alert cars. One should be a steady white light attached to your handlebars and pointing directly ahead. Another should be a red blinking light attached to your back or the back of the seat to warn cars that might be approaching from behind.

Having the correct safety equipment is important on any bike ride, whether biking 3 miles or 30. Wearing a properly fitting bike helmet is the first step to ensure a safe ride. The helmet should fit your head snugly, without moving around too much when turning your head. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute has a special page all about correctly fitting helmets.

Being easily visible to drivers is essential. By wearing bright colors and staying in bike lanes, you can make drivers aware that you are sharing the road with them.

These are just some of the tips I wanted to pass long during my two days of biking to work. The Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, a local group that advocates for bicyclists in our community, offers classes not only about safety equipment, but also on biking in traffic. Classes are available for youth and adults.