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Safe habits for bike riding in California

There are a few good habits that every safe California bicyclist should maintain in order to limit the risk of getting into a car crash. While common sense and a watchful eye are always the most important safety strategies when taking to the streets, cyclists should also consider doing the following in order to stay safe.

First, do not talk on your phone and never try to text message or operate your smartphone in any way while riding a bicycle. It is also wise to refrain from using headphones to listen to music while on a bike. All these activities can serve to distract and/or limit your ability to avoid accidents. Second, always ride your bicycle in a straight and predictable pathway. If you suddenly cross into the street without signaling, you could find yourself getting hit by a driver who is surprised by your sudden change of direction and unable slow down or stop in time to avoid hitting you.

Third, always ride your bicycle on the right side of traffic, and riding directly behind other cyclists in a single-file fashion. Riding two or three side-by-side is recipe for accidents because it limits the amount of space drivers have to go around you. Fourth, keep your eyes peeled for parked cars that might suddenly open their doors or dart out into the street. If parked cars are present, ride a little bit closer toward the middle of the street to avoid this kind of accident. Fifth, use hand signals to let drivers know you are about to make a turn and always make eye contact before you cross in front of a driver to ensure that he or she has seen you.

Last but not least, don't forget to have fun. Riding a bike in beautiful California weather should be a pleasurable experience. Follow the above rules, wear a helmet, use a safety light and you'll be well on your way to getting the most out of your bike while limiting the chances of getting seriously injured in a cycling accident.

Source: Greatist, "Road Bike Safety 101: How to Get There, Get Fit, and Not Get Hit," Sophia Breene, accessed July 09, 2015

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