The fuel crisis in Sri Lanka led people to consider cycling. Though it has relaxed a bit, some people still prefer cycling for various reasons. If you’re one of those people, you must know the safety rules for cycling. 

Amazingly, you’ve got a cost-effective option to travel. But it doesn’t come without its risks. Accidents are what they are – accidents. But you can avoid collisions or severe injuries if you know your safety drills. Let’s check out 6 ways to stay safe while cycling

1. Wear a helmet. 

This is a rule of thumb. Even if the road rules don’t mention it, you should do it for your safety. Wearing a safety helmet can protect against possible injuries in case you meet with an accident or have a fall. Protect your head at all costs!

Some riders might find it uncomfortable or uncool, but what’s cool is taking care of yourself and riding safely. While riding, you should remember you’re responsible for your safety. 

2. Inspect your bicycle 

Accidents aren’t always because of human mistakes. Bicycle malfunctioning has led to accidents too. This is why you should inspect your bike before you take it out for riding. 

Check whether your tires are inflated. Double-check the lights (head and tail) and ensure they work properly. There must be no issues with the chains or gears. These might sound simple, but not doing these might cost a life. We never know. 

3. Learn the hand signals 

Bikes don’t have turn signals or brake lights. You must learn hand signals to communicate your next move. Surprises are good for birthdays, but not on roads.

You can ride safely by learning these hand signals: 

  • Left turn – You must extend the left arm to your side to signal a left turn. You should signal it 100 feet before the turn. 
  • Right turn – Just like the left-hand signal, you must use your right hand to signal a right turn. 
  • Stop – This is the most important signal because bicycles have no brake lights. You can indicate the stop signal by stretching your left arm and bending your elbow to 90-degree while keeping your palms open. 
4. Use the bike lanes 

While there’s just one bike lane introduced in Sri Lanka as of now, there are likely to be many more, given its adoption. Colombo Mayoress, Rosy Senanayake, opened the lane from Colombo Port City to Armour Street. 

If you’re riding in or around Armour street, use the lane. It’s safe and hassle-free. In other areas, be mindful of traffic lights. Do not use the pavement as shortcuts because it is a disturbance to pedestrians.

5. Don’t use the phone or headphones 

It’s entertaining to listen to music while riding. But you shouldn’t do it unless the road you’re riding is suitable for that. For example, if you’re riding on a high-traffic road and listening to music, you might not hear if a vehicle is behind you or trying to overtake you.You need both your eyes and ears on the road. So avoid distractions as much as possible.

6. Select the right size of bike 

If you haven’t selected a bike that suits your height, you will find it hard to ride. Some people purchase bikes without considering these factors. And they buy ones that are too big or too small. This leads to a loss of control, and you might even get into an accident that could have been avoided. 

You can look at the sizing chart to decide the bike size based on the inseam and your height. There’s no universal size, so make sure to find what fits you.