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Safety tips every cyclist should follow

After a long uphill climb, there is nothing quite like flying down the other side of the hill at 35 miles per hour on your road bike. The thought of hitting a rock the wrong way or crack in the road at a bad angle is not fun to contemplate. Part of what makes cycling exciting but also makes it dangerous is that you are sharing the road with motor vehicles that are much larger, heavier and going much faster. Even when riding in the city, at slower speeds, you still face a constant threat from cars and trucks. Even pedestrians, motorcycles and other cyclists can pose a threat.

Part of being a responsible cyclist is acknowledging that you cannot trust anyone else on the road to make your safety a priority. This does not mean that they are not responsible for their reckless or negligent actions. On the contrary, taking your own safety and that of others seriously and practicing safe riding habits can help if do have a collision with a motor vehicle. Here are a few cycling safety tips that every cyclist should follow.

Practice the fundamentals

When it comes to cycling, it is important to remember the basics. For instance, always wear a helmet, obey the rules of the road, ride with the flow of traffic and stay in control. Don't forget to wear bright colors and take other necessary steps to make yourself visible, both at night and in the daytime.

Practice good technique

Good technique does not just include using proper posture or pushing and pulling on the pedals. It includes keeping a safe distance between you and other riders, vehicles and pedestrians. However, you should also stay a comfortable distance from the curb. When riding in a pack, go single file or no more than two abreast. Pay extra attention at intersections, driveways and parking lots. These areas tend to be especially dangerous for cyclists since motorists are generally looking for other cars and not someone on a bike. Also, be predictable when you ride and make your intentions as obvious as possible.

Practice awareness

When you are riding, stay alert to what is going on around you. This will help you anticipate when you have to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision. Make eye contact with people operating motor vehicles so that you know they see you. Always ride with confidence. If you are wobbly or don't seem to know what you are doing, it could make drivers nervous and they could react aggressively to having to share the road with you.

While the above tips can help you avoid a collision when you are cycling, it is not always possible to avoid a cycling accident. If you have been the victim of a negligent or reckless driver, you might be able to file a claim in North Carolina for your injuries and other damages.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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