Bicycling Safety - Let's Be Careful Out There
Posted: Sep 08 2017
At Coeur, we absolutely love our time on our bikes. Whether it's for training, getting in some low impact exercise, or just getting from place to place, there's no doubt in our mind that a bicycle is a great way to go. That being said, we do hear of accidents from time to time so we decided to ask a couple of experts a few questions related to cycling safety. As coaches and competitors, Mark and Hailey Manning put thousands of miles per year in on two wheels and they graciously agreed to answer our safety related questions.
Coeur Co-Founder & Coach Hailey Manning
Coach, Road, Cyclo-Cross, & Criterium Racer Mark Manning
1. What are some of the most common causes of accidents and what can cyclists do to avoid them?
Overlapping of wheels in a group ride. Also known as the mantra "always protect your front wheel". If your front wheel hits someone else's back wheel, YOU will be the one to go down.
Moving out of a pace-line without first looking back to see if you are in the clear.
Getting hit by a car turning left in front of you- always try to anticipate what the car in front of you is going to do next.
Biggest thing you can do to prevent an accident is to "LOOK LOOK and then LOOK again, communicate with your fellow cyclists and always assume a car doesn't see you.
2. By now, we hope that everyone knows to wear a helmet when bicycling. Are all helmets created equal from a safety stand point or are some safer than others?
There is a new technology that has been adapted over the past few years called MIPS. These helmets are supposed to be even more protective. All helmets in the US have to meet the CPSC standard. I think you get what you pay for. The more pricey a helmet is, you will get the MIPS technology, better ventilation, more aero features and overall a more comfortable helmet.
3. In addition to a helmet, what other devices should someone consider buying? Should everyone consider having a head light, tail light, etc.?
There is significant research that says that taillights are very effective at getting cars to see us. Lights now are so powerful and small, they no longer add too much weight that makes it off putting. High vis clothing is also in fashion right now which is awesome as it makes us that much more visible to other motorists.
4. When making a right turn on a bike, we've seen some people stick their right arm out straight and some raise their left arm and bend their elbow. What is the proper hand signal for a right and a left turn on a bike?
This seems to differ by country. In the UK, where Mark is from, you just stick an arm out straight in the direction you are going. I have personally never practiced the left arm bent thing...I believe this has roots from cyclists being treated as a vehicle and this is how you signaled before turn signals existed. Bottom line is that signaling of some sort makes everyone safer.
5. Are there other hand signals that a rider should use?
Gesturing with one finger to point out a big rock, branch in the way, etc so that the cyclist behind you does not hit it in error. A flat palm down will signal to those behind you that you are slowing and is a good best practice.
6. We've seen groups out riding and sometimes they are all single file and sometimes they are more in a pack. It seems like the single file gives drivers more room, but the pack seems to do more to get a driver's attention. Is one better than the other?
Never ride more than 2 abreast and stay in the bike lane. If there is no bike lane/very narrow shoulder, and the road is busy, riding single file is the best idea. I do not believe in the taking over the road mentality so that cars see you more...I think this backfires and only makes drivers angry at cyclist for being (and they are) disrespectful and taking up the entire road.
7. Speaking of group riding, what are the safety rules that one should follow when riding as a group? Are there certain signals or call outs that the ride leader should use?
Again protect your front wheel. If you are new to a group ride, stay at the back until you learn the ways of the group. If you don't know the route, do NOT go off of the front. Introduce yourself to others and NEVER ride in your aero bars if you are in a group ride and you are not the VERY first person in the pack. You aren't close to your breaks and this is not safe.
8. What other tips do we need to share?
Have FUN, biking is AWESOME!
Ok folks, thank you for reading. Like we said we love cycling and hey...we love you too! We want you to be safe on the road, so for the first 10 people who email us at BlogGiveAway@coeursports.com will receive a free LED Rear Bicycle light. No purchase required and you don't have to pay for shipping. It's all on us because we want you in one piece. Just email with your ship to address and we'll get lights sent to you.
Your Friends at Coeur Sports