It can hardly escape notice that NYC has exploded with bikes this summer. The streets and bike paths are packed with people on Citibikes, tourists on rented bikes, riders on brand new bikes and longtime cycling pros. This makes for a mix that frequently borders on the dangerous. Going for long rides can be frustrating. Here are some guidelines to keep everyone safe.
Wear a helmet. The stats are unequivocal - wearing a helmet reduces the risk of brain and head injury by as much as 88 percent. 90% of those in the U.S. who died in a bicycle accident (in 2009) weren’t wearing a helmet. Wear a helmet.
Obey the laws. That means ride with the lights, don’t ride on the sidewalk, ride with traffic and yield to pedestrians. With the influx of cyclists law enforcement are making sure the law is adhered to. I know this first hand.
Unplug. According to the DOT NYC law only one earphone can be in the ear while riding. I wish law enforcement would be strict with this. Riders not paying attention are dangerous, and generally cause accidents involving others not necessarily themselves. Don’t text and ride.
Let others know you are there. Never assume others are paying attention. Slow riders may be daydreaming. Tourists out on the river path aren’t thinking let me stay out of the way of the serious cyclists, they are thinking “how pretty the Hudson looks.” Call out to everyone. Obviously if you’re passing a slower rider (always on the left) call “passing on your left,” and loudly, many on the roads have music blasting.
Go slower on crowded paths. There’s a time and place to crank up the speed. A crowded path is not that time.
Get out earlier. The roads are less packed and you can pick up speed.
As a fitness professional I’m thrilled with the number of people out moving their body. As a cyclist, I’m aghast at what I see on the road. Let’s respect each other and all be safe.