Next: Part 2
Biking is not without hazards. But one can take proactive steps to substantially mitigate risks.
Your State-/government-enforced Traffic Laws: if you live in the US, your State's DMV (aka BMV) has them on their web site. You can also stop in at your local DMV office for a hardcopy. This is the same document that you need to study in order to obtain a Motor Vehicle (Driver) license. As a law-abiding bicyclist, you will do much of your riding on the road with the traffic. Why? Through studies and research, State and Federal transportation agencies have concluded that, other than a dedicated bike path or lane, this is the safest place for a moving bicycle. And it's your right! The rules vary a bit from state to state, so familiarize yourself with your state's specific regulations.
Riding While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substances (and this should go without saying): Because you are legally considered identical to a motor vehicle driver, you will be punished just as severely if found operating your bicycle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Ditto for wearing headphones or using cell phones.
Physical Health, Disabilities, Illness and Medication: Bicycling requires a sense of balance, excellent vision, good physical condition and reasonable mental health. This makes biking considerably more demanding (and challenging) than operating a motor vehicle. Do not ride a bicycle for the same reasons you would not drive (or be permitted to drive) an automobile. In addition, if you suffer from any disease exacerbated by physical activity, such as cardiovascular disease, do not ride a bicycle without your physician's approval.
Plan Your Trip: If you're going on trip to new location, be sure you have charted your route before leaving home. Use maps or online resources (such as Mapquest) to plot your trip -- and take a copy of the map or directions with you. If you get lost don't guess or wander around aimlessly. Get off the road and examine your map or directions. If you're still unclear, go to a nearby gas station or convenient store and ask for help. top of page
A. In order for you to safely ride your bike, you must feel comfortable on it. Discomfort is distracting and potentially hazardous:
When purchasing a new or used bike, select a frame geometry that is best suited for you (this is mostly based on your height). Your bike dealer should be very thorough when it comes to sizing your bike.
If you follow my recommendation below, and use platform pedals, the foot/pedal position is less critical. top of page
Seat comfort is important for touring and long commutes. A good seat is one that minimizes the need to re-position yourself (very distracting) because your butt has fallen asleep or is otherwise uncomfortable. For me, seat padding is especially important because I have very little natural cushioning (body fat). It took some time but I finally came up with a solution that works (for me anyway). Look at this picture:
Next: Part 2
|Top of Page||Prev:||Next:||HOME|