How to stay safe when biking in Marin County
Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Some bicycle related crashes are connected to the bicyclist’s behavior, while others are due to the motorist’s lack of attention.
Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. The best way to avoid collisions is to be prepared and be aware of other vehicles around you. Avoid common bicyclist errors and common motorist errors committed around bicyclists.
Here are some safety tips for biking in Marin County:
Always obey traffic signs and signals
Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles. When cyclists pass red lights when other vehicles are stopped or ignore stop signs even when it appears ‘clear’ this is when the probability of accidents rise considerably. Adhere to all traffic signs and signals as if you were driving a vehicle for optimal safety to you, other vehicles and pedestrians.
Never ride against traffic
It is generally either illegal or unsafe to ride on a sidewalk or on the road towards oncoming traffic. As a rule, it is best to ride in the direction of traffic, staying as far to the right as is practical. However, make sure there is room to handle emergencies and that you do not ride so close to the right that you run the risk of hitting the curb and being thrown into traffic.
Stay on the defense
Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings. Know what is behind you and watch out for what is in front of you. Always be on the lookout for road hazards; parked cars where people may be opening doors, gravel, glass, railroad tracks, sewer grates and pot holes in the road. These can easily cause your wheels to catch and be thrown from you bike. Always wait until you have enough time to make your move, whether you are changing a lane or turning a corner. Do not expect to be granted the right of way in any instance. This assumption can be dangerous.
Use the bicycle lane
On a roadway with a bike lane, bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane except when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazardous conditions, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorize
DO NOT pass on the right
Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right. Also, even though motorists don’t always use their indicator to turn, they may be turning without it and not see you in their blind spot or as you speed up to pass.
Scan the road behind you
Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors, which can be extremely helpful and avoid accidents.
Keep both hands ready to brake
You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance also for stopping in the rain or foggy conditions, since brakes are less efficient when wet.
Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones
Always wear a helmet. Regardless if you’re going to your local store or heading out on a marathon ride, always wear a helmet. Make sure it is properly fastened and fitted. It should always feel secure and snug on your head. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike your sense of hearing which is essential to alert you safely from vehicles, pedestrians and other potentials dangers.
Dress for the weather
In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored and/or reflective
Use lights and wear reflective gear at night
Be sure your bike reflectors and reflective clothing are visible from a safe distance of at least 500 feet. This will give a vehicle time to slow down and brake if needed. Many reflective materials, especially those used for promotional safety products are of inferior quality and do not reflect very well. If you choose ANSI compliant reflective materials – these allow you to be seen from all angles and from over 1000 feet away. Regardless of your preferences, you want to ensure that you can be seen from a safe distance at night and in all weather conditions.
Always use hand signals
Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection. Motorists are more apt to give you the right of way when you communicate with hand signals effectively.
Keep your bike in good repair
Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and makes a huge difference on the road for your safety and the safety of others on the road.
And most importantly…Keep your body in good repair!
Once you’ve made sure your bike is in tip top shape, make sure you’re in tip top shape as well! It’s important to make sure you’re in proper condition to ride before you head out on a stenuous cycle. If you have a big race coming up, it’s smart to get yourself checked out beforehand so you can avoid any further injury.
Right now we’re offering a 20% discount on first-time visits for new patients! So come in and make sure you’re ready for your next ride!
To take advantage of this special offer:
- Enter your name & email address in the contact form at the bottom of this page
- Copy “SUMMER SPECIAL” in the message section & submit.
Once you’ve submitted your request, you will recieve a discount code via email. Bring this code to your first visit and get 20% off!