What’s the safest way to ride a bike? Like a vehicle.
In the state of Florida, a bike is legally a vehicle, just like all the motor vehicles on the road.
- You are more predictable to drivers and legally correct when you ride the same way you would drive a car.
- Bicycles should be ridden the same direction as cars on the road. Pedestrians are supposed to walk against traffic, bicycles are not. If you ride against traffic, you are actually more likely to get hit. Your bike or car will follow your eyes watching an oncoming vehicle. Both the bike and care are likely to track towards each other. Beyond the increased chance of injury you may have fewer legal options if you are hit by a vehicle and not obeying traffic laws.
- Always check your bike before you ride. Did you know that 2 out of every 3 flat tires we see are due to under inflation rather than a puncture? Most of us grew up riding bikes with wide tires and low air pressure, less than 50 psi. These leak air more slowly due to lower pressure compared to the air outside the tube. Also, if you’re old enough, tubes were made of rubber with lead. That kept the air in better than the less toxic tubes we use today. If you ride your bike with the tires under the minimum recommended air pressure (located on the sidewall of most tires), hitting a bump can result in the tube getting pinched between the tire and the rim, causing a puncture. Always use a bike pump with a pressure gauge to make sure that your tires have enough air to avoid the pain of a roadside flat.
- If you are riding trails or anywhere near cars, a helmet is a must. 84% of fatalities on bicycles involve riders without helmets.
- Lights, especially blinking lights are especially helpful when riding with traffic. Drivers notice blinking lights and are able to tell that they are moving against background lights better than steady lights. Having a steady light so you can see and a blinking light so you can be seen is the best option for riding outside of daylight conditions.
We want riding a bicycle to be safe and fun. Come tell us about your concerns and ask us questions. We’re here to help.