Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Cycling is a fun and healthy way to get around. It gets your body, especially your legs and core challenged which is definitely great for you. It's also a great alternative to travel because it's eco-friendlier than most vehicles. Despite all these facts, cycling can be pretty dangerous. Consider that bikes are not just tools for fun, but they are also vehicles.
When the pandemic hit the Philippines, there was a struggle in finding ways to get around places that could lessen close contact between people. Commuters found that cycling was a safer method, thus resulting in the rise of numbers of bike users. Roads were also made bicycle friendly to adjust to this new and sudden change. Unfortunately, the more people chose to pedal their way to their destinations, the number of bike related accidents also increased.
According to Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor, there was a horrifying 48 percent increase in bicycle road crashes in Metro Manila alone during 2020.
With the terrifying fact that cycling can be pretty dangerous, here are some safety tips to follow so you can cycle worry free.
Always Wear a Durable Bike Helmet
Your life isn’t cheap, so don’t be frugal when it comes to choosing a helmet. The head can be very vulnerable, so the better protection, the smoother your cycling journey is. Choose a sturdy helmet that could withstand heavy impacts, but one that is not too heavy nor too light. Choose one that would fit comfortably in your head. Remember, comfort also matters so you can keep pedaling unbothered. You can’t afford to be distracted by discomfort while cycling through busy roads.
Do a Thorough Inspection of your Equipment Before Riding
Check your brakes if they properly work. Brakes are your number one tools in avoiding accidents when put in a tight situation. Properly inflate your tires so you won’t suddenly get stranded or stuck in busy roads. Make sure you have lights or reflective items equipped in your bicycle or in your person at all times. It is important to be seen in the road so that other motorists can easily spot you from afar, especially at night. Being seen is as important as what you see.
Properly Plan out your routes to Avoid Busy Traffic and Road Hazards
Always research in advance about the routes and destinations you plan on reaching. Ask yourself these questions:
“Is the route bike friendly?”
“How busy is the traffic in that area?”
“Is the road suited for my type of bike? (Road bike or Mountain bike)”.
If the road you plan on taking has hazards that cannot be avoided such as potholes, animals, wet areas, etc., always stay alert for them since they could cause crashes and accidents.
If you're planning to bike around Pampanga, click here to learn the best places to ride in the province.
Follow Traffic Laws at All Times
Even as a cyclist, you are considered a driver. Learn and always be aware of the traffic rules in the area and consistently follow traffic lights, markers, and signs. If there is an available bike lane, stay in that lane.
Be Alert and Avoid any Possible Distractions
Stay focused on the road and use all your senses to properly navigate and balance yourself on your bicycle. If you need to drink or check your phone, make a full and proper stop at an open area with no traffic.
If you’re Traveling with a Group, Learn to Communicate
Communication is super important when traveling in packs. It would be hard to vocally communicate so create signs that you can use to warn the others of possible hazards in the road and signs that would indicate turning. Cycling is a very fun group activity, that is why it's important to care for others, especially the beginners.
Cycling will definitely challenge your stamina. Always stop for water breaks so you can stay in perfect condition while cycling through the heated traffic and roads. Staying hydrated does not only do good for the body but also for the mind.
These are only some of the few things that you need to consider if you’re really planning to get into cycling. Always keep in mind and consider the fact that no matter how technical and prepared you are, unplanned things could always happen anytime. So being alert and learning how to improvise is also one of the best safety tips that you should remember. Always stay safe on the road while also keeping it safe for other cyclists.