Tip of the Month: Bike Safety, or 'How Not to Get Hit by Cars'

March 11, 2010 — Of the 33,000 people who die in car crashes in the U.S. each year, about one in 41 is a bicyclist. Don't fall for the myth that wearing a helmet is the first and last word in biking safety. It's better to not get hit; that's what real bicycle safety is about.

The following tips are offered by BicycleSafe.com:

•    Avoid busy streets. It's usually better to take the streets with fewer and slower cars.
•    Light up. Too obvious? Well, if it's so obvious, then why do most nighttime cyclists ride without lights?
•    Take the whole lane when appropriate. It's often safer to take the whole lane, or at least ride a little bit to the left, rather than hug the right curb. Cars at intersections ahead of you can see you better and taking the lane prevents cars from passing you too closely on narrow roadways.
•    Signal your turns. You're less likely to get hit when your movement doesn't take motorists by surprise
•    Re-think music players and mobile phones. It's even more important to hear what's around you when you're biking than when you're driving a car.
•    Ride as if you were invisible. It's often helpful to ride in such a way that motorists won't hit you even if they don't see you.

Check out their tactics on the 10 ways not to get hit.

For more, contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.