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May 07, 2014
Do your employees bike to work? Share this safety checklist

May is National Bike Month, and many states and cities are promoting Bike to Work programs and events. Supporters of the bike-to-work movement point out that bikes enhance traffic conditions, environmental conditions, and personal health. If you have workers who bike to work, encourage them to stay safe with this safety checklist.

Bicycle commuter’s safety checklist

Biking is good for health and the environment, but bike riders can be at a disadvantage in traffic, so some caution is advised. Share these tips with employees:

Plan your route. You don’t want to just get on your bike on Monday morning and take your usual driving route to work. Instead, work out a bike-friendly route beforehand.

Your bike route to work will probably be along side streets, bike lanes, and bike paths rather than heavily traveled “main drags.” Practice your route on your day off, and make sure you work out any tricky spots along with your new commute time.

Take advantage of public transit. If you have too far to go to bike the whole route, you may be able to use public transit for part of your trip.

Ride in the road. Beginning bikers may think sidewalks are safer, but bicycles belong—and are actually safer—in the roadway, following normal traffic rules.

Inspect your bike. Even more than with a car, it’s vital to give your bike a quick once-over before you set out. Make sure that:

  • Your tires are properly inflated.
  • Your brakes work.
  • Your chain is properly seated.
  • Your quick-releases are closed.

Take care of your bike. If you’re not a skilled bike mechanic, keep your bike in good repair with an annual inspection at a bike shop.

Stay visible. Wear light-colored clothing in dusk and darkness, and use flashing lights on the front and back of your bike to make yourself easier to see.

Communicate. Be aware of the traffic around you, and make sure it’s aware of you. Use eye contact, hand signals, and a bike bell to let others know where you are and what you’re about to do.

Take up space. If you’re riding along a line of parked cars, you’re vulnerable to “dooming”—colliding with a car door when someone who doesn’t see you opens it. Give parked cars a wide berth, even if it means that cars driving in your lane cannot pass.

Stay in control. Riding fast puts you at greater risk of losing control. Always go slowly enough that you can stop, turn, or otherwise maneuver as needed.

Be watchful. Look out for potholes and other roadway hazards and obstructions, and give yourself enough reaction time to avoid them safely.

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