Bicycle safety is a priority for everyone — it takes more than just a bike rider’s vigilance to avoid harm. People enjoy riding bicycles for a variety of reasons, including being able to get exercise and the thrill of spending time outside. Regardless of the reason, there is no excuse for a preventable accident.

There are several points that everyone can remember to help make these journeys safe. While some are geared toward the bicyclist and some are more for motorists, many can be shared by all.

Prepare for the ride

Getting ready for your ride is the first step in making sure you are safe. You should wear a helmet that adequately protects your head and brain. This means that it fits properly and is secure. You also need to ensure that you are wearing appropriate clothing and shoes. If your ride is at night, you need reflective gear so that drivers can easily see you.

You also need to check your bike to make sure it is in ride-ready condition. This means having good tires with plenty of tread on them, as well as brakes that are able to stop when you need them to. If you are riding after dark, be sure that you have lights or reflectors so drivers can see you.

Avoiding accidents

Bicyclists are commonly involved in two types of accidents. One is with vehicles and the other is falling. Paying close attention to what is going on around you can help to prevent both of these common pitfalls. Bikers need to watch the terrain. Potholes, for example, can lead to accidents that don’t involve other vehicles.

If you are on roads, you should ride in bike lanes when they are available. If there are no designated lanes for bicycles, ride on the street going in the same direction as traffic. Never ride against traffic or on the sidewalk. Use hand signals to let motorists know where you are going.

Remember that bicyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as vehicles. This includes stopping for red lights and stop signs. Obeying the laws and rules of the road can help to keep you safe. Motorists should take extra time to watch for bicyclists.

Any bicyclist who is struck by a car might suffer serious injuries that require medical care. In some cases, these injured cyclists can seek compensation from the at-fault motorist or any party deemed to bear some fault for the accident.