5 Ways to Help Stay Safe While Cycling
Not only is cycling a great way to burn calories, it’s also an enjoyable way to pass the time. Whether you’re biking from point A to point B or you have no goal in mind other than to take in some fresh air, it’s a pastime that can be enjoyed by anyone at any skill level. Plus, there are ways you can foster a safer training environment. Here’s how.
1. Wear a helmet
This likely isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, and it probably won’t be the last: It’s wise to wear your helmet when riding a bicycle. We know that this is actually a debated topic, and we also know that slapping a helmet on isn’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to cycling safety — cities need to do their part by building bike-safe infrastructure, and drivers need to be paying attention as well. But studies continually show that simply wearing a helmet reduces your risk of head and brain injury by as much as 63 – 88%, depending on which study you’re reading. It’s hard to argue with those stats.
2. Make sure other people can see you
It’s always a good idea to wear reflective clothing when you ride, but thanks to the latest advancements in technology, you can take your visibility game to a whole new level. The Garmin Varia™ RCT715 and Varia™ RTL515 radar tail lights can be seen up to a mile away, and the Varia™ UT800 Smart Headlight projects a steady blast of 800 lumens to help drivers coming from the other direction see you from up to one mile away. Accidents happen when people are caught unaware, so the more time others have to see you coming, the more likely it is that your ride will be a positive event.
3. Make sure you can see other people
The Varia RCT715 rearview radar doesn’t just activate your tail light when it senses oncoming cars — it sends visual and audible notifications to your Edge® cycling computer or compatible smartphone to give you a heads-up that a car is approaching as well. While we hope most drivers are patient with cyclists, this isn’t always the case. The notifications give you the opportunity to judge their position and speed to determine if you need to pull over and give them a little more room to pass. The Varia RCT715 also features a built-in camera that will continuously record the surroundings behind you and, in the event of an incident, save video footage from before, during and after the incident.
4. Stay connected in case an emergency occurs while cycling
Garmin Edge cycling computers provide incident detection features that can send a message to your designated contacts with your location if you’ve had an incident and need help. When paired with your compatible smartphone, your Edge device can send an automated text message1 and email with your name and location to preloaded emergency contacts. You’ll receive a message on your Edge device and paired smartphone letting you know the message to your contacts will be sent within 30 seconds, giving you plenty of time to cancel the automated emergency message if you don’t need help.
5. Follow the rules of the road
Traffic laws are put in place to keep people safe on the road, and they apply to cyclists as well. It’s critical that you obey all traffic signs and signals, and be sure to use hand signals if you are changing lanes, turning, etc., so that others know what move you’re planning to make. Use bike lanes when available, and be aware of your surroundings.
By following these five simple steps, you’re well on your way to becoming a responsible cyclist. Ready to hit the road? Be sure to outfit your bike with the latest Garmin technology to help ensure a smooth ride.
Read more about road cycling tips from our resident coach Matt Rowe.
1 When paired with your compatible smartphone. For safety and tracking feature requirements and limitations, see Garmin.com/safety.