Taking up road biking is an excellent venture; it’s good for the body, environment, soul and pocketbook. Many people in Seattle agree. Roughly one out of every eight workers in Seattle is either a pedestrian or commutes via bicycle, which is far above average. In most cities, the average is only one out of every 20 workers, reports The Seattle Times.
And it’s a relatively safe city for cyclists, too. According to a 2014 Benchmarking Report that reviewed bicycle fatalities in 52 major U.S. cities, Seattle ranked second in safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Only Boston had fewer fatalities than Seattle.
Bicycle Safety Tips for Road Cyclists
Even though Seattle is a cycling hotspot and a relatively safe community for riding your bike, there are still three fatalities per 10,000 commuters each year. Any preventable fatality is too many. It’s important to be well prepared, well informed and safety conscious before you hit the road so that your rides will be pleasurable and accident-free.
The following tips may be helpful if you’re new to road biking in Seattle.
- Learn the laws that pertain to cyclists -- and then follow them. Following the rules of the road will prevent you from getting a citation, help you avoid angering drivers, and most important, will reduce your risk of wrecking. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) website features a page, “The Rules of the Road,” in the Bicycle Program section where you can read about the most important rules to keep in mind.
- Stay visible. Most drivers hit cyclists because they simply don’t see them. Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night, and keep a safe distance when traveling alongside cars.
- Don’t wear ear buds while cycling. Stay alert to your surroundings.
- Don’t try to ride above your abilities. Practice often and ride cautiously. Speeding, taking corners too sharply, trying to ride your bike in crowded pedestrian areas, etc. will only increase your risk of crashing.
- Seattle has tons of excellent free resources for cyclists. Make good use of them. Some of the info you can find on the DOT website include a 32-page guide, Seattle by Bike: Your Easy-Start Guide to Bicycling around Seattle; maps of trails and bike routes; bicycle traffic codes; and information about Seattle’s community bicycle Sunday rides.
- Never ride without a helmet. Ever.