Local bike accidents highlight need for safety

Bicycling is seeing a resurgence in popularity: It’s healthy, good for the environment and a lot of fun. But with biking comes a set of associated dangers.

Lancaster Online reported that from 2013 to 2017 there were 307 bicycle accidents in Lancaster County alone. People were injured in 302 of those accidents, and four of them were fatal. But by following some basic safety tips, you can make sure your whole family stays safe on two wheels.

Wear a helmet

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to wear a high-quality and well-fitted helmet. Helmet sizes change depending on the manufacturer, so always try a helmet on before purchasing. A good helmet can protect from concussions, traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures and more.

Follow the road rules

It is your responsibility as a bicyclist to follow all the rules you would as a motorist. Pay attention to street signs and traffic lights, ride with the flow of traffic and yield to pedestrians. When making turns and stopping, use hand signals to indicate your movement to cars and other bikers.

Avoid distractions

Just as distracted driving is dangerous, distracted biking is too. Don’t listen to music with earbuds or talk on the phone or text while riding. When you’re not paying attention, you pose a danger to yourself and to others.

Be visible

Drivers often have a hard time seeing bicyclists, so stay as visible as possible. If riding at night or in low-light conditions, use a headlight and taillight. Wear bright-colored reflective clothing and stay to the side of the road or stick to bike paths. Most bike accidents happen at night or at dusk, so ride during the day when possible.

Check your equipment

Before your ride, make sure that your bike is in good working order. Check the brakes, tires, peddles, handlebar and seat. Make sure the seat is at a good height for you and that your bike isn’t too big or small for your height. The more comfortable you are on your bike, the safer you will be.