Safe cycling begins with you

The season for bike-riding in Connecticut is now upon us. Riding a bike is a great way to get exercise, as it strengthens your muscles and improves cardiovascular circulation (among other benefits).

The city of New Haven, like many other locations here in Connecticut and other places in New England, is very friendly to bicycle riders. But they do enforce rules of the road for bicyclists in order to help keep everyone safer. Learning and following these rules can also make your ride more enjoyable.

Don’t forget to signal

Bicyclists, just like drivers, should signal their intentions to turn and/or stop. This applies to cyclists riding together in groups as well as sole bikers out for a ride. Below are the basic signals all bike riders should learn and use:

  • Left arm extended parallel to street. About to turn left.
  • Right arm extended parallel to street. About to turn right.
  • Left arm extended down at angle to street. About to come to a stop.

Other safety rules to know

Under state law, during conditions of poor visibility and when riding after dark, cyclists must use rear reflectors or tail lights, side reflectors and a headlight. Keep in mind that drivers who can’t see you can’t avoid colliding into you.

You also must stop or at least slow your roll when approaching railroad crossings. It’s recommended that cyclists cross nearly perpendicular to the tracks, although depending on traffic patterns, that may not always be possible. You want to avoid your tires getting caught in the tracks.

Be as visible as possible when out for a ride

A cyclist’s main goal when riding should be to be seen easily by the motorists with whom they share the road. This applies on bike paths just for cyclists, as you also want to avoid a collision with another bicycle rider when you are lapping the track for exercise.

Wearing bright neon colors to ride is the best way to remain visible to others. When that’s not possible, you can modify any clothing item with strips of reflective tape.

Seek justice after a bike wreck injures you

Despite adhering to all the riding rules of the road, you can still wind up injured in a crash with another cyclist or a moving vehicle. Filing a claim for damages against the at-fault party is the first place to start if you decide to seek financial compensation.