More and more Seattle residents are taking to the roads on two wheels, attracted by the freedom offered by a more convenient commute and lower cost travel. However, that also means an increasing number of Seattleites are riding with relatively little road bike experience. If you’re starting out, learn how to ride a road bike to stay safe around motor vehicles.
Buy the Right Road Biking Equipment
When you’re first learning how to ride a road bike, make sure you have the right equipment. Invest in a high-quality helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Make sure you buy a helmet that fits properly. Also ask for help choosing a bicycle that is right for you.
A bicycle shop is a good place to ask for help, as the staff should be familiar with matching people with the right road bike. Other common road bike gear includes a jersey and bicycle shorts. Sunglasses or goggles can be good as well to keep the sun and wind out of your eyes.
Tips if You’re Learning How to Ride a Road Bike
First things first, learn the rules of the road for bicyclists. These won’t differ all that much from motor vehicles, though bicyclists should be aware they should not ride more than two abreast in the lane. They also must wear a white front light that’s visible 500 feet as well as a rear red reflector. Also learn the right of way laws.
Learn your bike as well. This means learning not only how it works, but how to perform some basic roadside repairs. You don’t want to get a flat tire miles away from home and try to change the tire for the first time. Practice before you ever hit the road so you’re prepared to handle a basic repair. You can even buy a basic repair kit to bring with you.
Once the time comes to hit the road, the worst thing that you could do if you’re just starting out is to act like a professional when you have barely been riding for a week. Start off slow and practice. As a beginner bicyclist, it's best to practice riding in the daytime. Ride on routes that are safer for bicyclists, have relatively calm traffic, include bike lanes, and with which you are familiar. Don’t head to the busiest road in town with no bike lane right away.
It might sound obvious, but always stay alert and maintain your focus. Do not assume that drivers will follow the rules of the road. Riding defensively could help you avoid an accident and might even save your life. At the same time, be courteous to drivers, pedestrians, other road bicyclists and make sure you yourself know the rules of the road.
Another good tip is to seek out support and more advanced tips from bicycle groups, as some might even help you practice your road riding skills. These groups consist of bicyclists who have years of experience riding on the road and may guide you about the routes to avoid, common risks facing bicyclists, and provide other helpful pointers to help you learn how to ride a road bike.
What if I’m in a bicycle accident with a motorist?
Even taking all of these steps to learn how to ride a road bike will not make you immune to accidents. A bicyclist who has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident is eligible to recover damages if a motorist or another party is responsible for the accident.
Compensation for a bicycle accident can include the following.
- medical bills.
- lost income.
- bicycle damage.
- pain and suffering.
If you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident in Seattle, speak with attorney Max Meyers to discuss your legal rights to compensation. Call us at 425-399-7000 to speak with an attorney or fill out the online contact form.