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There is a healthy bicycling culture in the United States, in fact, the number of trips made by bicycle more than doubled from 2001 to 2009. This increase is caused in large part by growing environmental concerns as well as people’s increased appreciation for their physical fitness.

While bicycling is certainly a help to both the environment as well as people’s health, it also leaves the rider much more exposed in the event of an accident. For bicycle riders who unfortunately collide with vehicles, the results are often fatal.

Deaths and injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 1,000 bicyclists died in 2015 and nearly 500,000 would reported injured. Not only is that just an awful waste of life, but it comes at a cost of over $10 billion to society.

The population most at risk for bicycle deaths are males, aged 50-59 who bike in urban areas and non-intersection locations.

4 bicycle safety reminders

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While he was referring to fire safety at the time, the quote rings true for all matters of safety. Here are 5 ways to stay safe while riding your bicycle.

  • Helmets. While Maryland state law does not require bicycle riders over the age of 16 to wear a helmet, it is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself in the event of an accident. If you’re going through the effort to wear a helmet, ensure that it fits properly either by doing an internet search or heading to a nearby bike shop and asking an expert.
  • Be seen. As much as we would like to believe that drivers are on the lookout for bicycles, they are not. Never assume that a driver see’s you. It may slow you down, but the alternative is worse. Wearing reflective gear is another simple precaution.
  • Listen to surroundings, not music. As tempting as it is to listen to your favorite music on your ride, it puts you at an increased risk of injury. Keep your ears tuned to the traffic around you.
  • Use hand signals. Drivers are tested on their ability to understand bicyclist’s hand signals. Using your hand signals could save you from a serious miscommunication on the road.

Keep these preventative tips in mind as you take to the roads and hopefully enjoy many more rides to come.

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