First things first. I’m not going to tell you how to dress whilst pedaling a bike, especially not in this post. I choose bright and visible, but I shy away from the overused “hi-viz” offerings. I’m not going to tell you to use a rear blinkie in this post, even if I use one because I find that the local traffic treats me a little better if I do. I’m definitely not going to tell anyone to use a headlight during daylight hours because I don’t myself – if you feel a headlight makes you safer, please be my guest. I’m also not going to tell you to wear a helmet, even if I’d never throw a leg over a top tube without one on my melon.
None of those are the top tip, anyway.
A top triathlete in a town just an hour from my house was training for an upcoming triathlon. I’d guess she was deep in the pain cave because she didn’t see the car in the opposing lane dart into her lane to pass the car in front. The driver hit her head on. She didn’t make it.
If I had a dollar for every accident I’ve avoided, I’d have a nice set of carbon fiber wheels for both my wife and I. With the added bonus of not being stuck in a hospital bed, or worse.
The key to keeping the rubber side down on a bike at all times is paying attention. At all times.
This isn’t, of course, to say that we catch everything if we pay attention. I don’t. I can’t. But I come pretty close, and the important thing is that I’m paying attention for the big stuff. As was the case with the triathlete above, one little lapse – running in the red just a little too hard with your head down at the wrong second can be the difference between coming home and not.
Head on a swivel is how I ride. That’s my number one safety tip.
Number two would probably be “safety in numbers”, but I only mentioned the number one tip in the Title.