Lights aren’t just Christmas decorations
It isn’t news to anyone that bikes are smaller than cars. They don’t take up as much space on the road, and they’re also harder to see. In South Carolina, the law says bikes must be equipped with a white front light and a red rear reflector at night or in low visibility. Red rear lights that blink or flash are highly recommended in addition or in place of the reflector for the added visibility they offer. The simple addition of safety lights on your bicycle does a tremendous amount to increase your visibility and reduce your vulnerability on roads.
Helmet hair is all the rage
No matter how short the trip is or how great their hair might look that day, bicyclists should always wear a helmet. Properly worn helmets should sit on top of the head to help reduce serious head injury; if it’s tipped backward or forward, it can’t protect its owner. Every five years or immediately after a helmet has done its duty in a crash, it should be retired and replaced.
Blaze orange is the new black
The colorful jerseys that bicyclists wear are not a gaudy fashion statement: the bright colors make it easier for other road users to see them. Bicyclists should dress to be seen, even if they’re not dressed for racing. A few vibrant and reflective embellishments to an outfit can go a long way.
Hand signals aren’t just for rival gangs
Turn signals on cars allow drivers to predict and react to other drivers. This is very important for bikes, too. Hand signals allow other vehicles to see where a bicyclist is planning to go and helps a bicyclist communicate their intentions. There are instances when bicyclists will need their hands on the bike to maintain control. In these cases, signals are not required. It’s better to safely make the turn than crash in the intersection.
To signal a left or right turn, reach your left or right arm straight out. A right-turn can also be signaled with the left arm outstretched and bent upward at the elbow. Stopping or slowing is indicated with the left or right arm outstretched and bent downward at the elbow. An expression of happiness is often communicated with your thumb sticking up and fingers curled towards your palm, aka ‘thumbs up’ (this last signal is not included in the traffic law, but it is an important one to keep in mind as you ride about town!). Remember, biking is fun and shouldn’t be threatening or overwhelming.