Tips for Biking in a City

The weather is getting warmer, which means it’s time to spend more of our days outside! Nothing feels better than sunshine and a warm breeze after a freezing winter. After a winter of taking the bus to campus I’m excited to start riding my bike again, but there are a few safety tips that are important to review before hopping back on that bike.

1. Wear a helmet!

Wearing your helmet is so important! Helmets not only provide peace of mind but legitimately protect you from a head injury if you fall. They may not be the most convenient (you’ll have to carry it around all day, or leave it locked to your bike outside somewhere), but if you fall and hit your head you’ll be thankful you were putting safety first.

2. Use hand signals

Hand signals are important, especially in intersections. Be sure to signal to other drivers where you need to go to avoid any miscommunication (and avoid any accidents).

3. Choose routes with bike lanes

Though not every street has a bike lane, many do! Pittsburgh is a fairly bike-friendly city, so try to find a route to your destination that has bike lanes or choose a less traffic-heavy path.

4. Invest in a U-lock

If you don’t own a U-lock you need to purchase one. Living in the city is great for an infinite number of reasons…but one drawback is that bikes are stolen pretty frequently. Purchase a U-lock to deter any possible thieves and be sure to research how to properly lock up your bike.

5. And invest in good lights!

It’s so important to be seen, especially at night. Investing in a sturdy headlight and taillight (preferably detachable, so they don’t get stolen) is money well spent. You’ll feel much safer knowing that other drivers can see you.

6. Be aware of your surroundings

Be cognizant of other drivers, but don’t let them stress you out. If you stress about the vehicles behind you, and try to pedal faster to keep up, you could fall in traffic (which is much, much worse than being a bit slower in traffic). Biking in traffic can be scary, but it’s also scary for the motor vehicle drivers behind you.

Good luck and stay safe!

Photo Credit: Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8