Cycling is not without its risks, but thorough preparation and the right safety equipment go a long way toward preventing bike accidents. Before going on your next ride, equip yourself with the essential bicycle accident safety gear every cyclist should have in Orange County.
Stay safe on your bicycle with this essential safety gear. From wearing a helmet and high-visibility clothing to installing mirrors on your handlebars, here is how to leverage bike safety gear to protect yourself and other cyclists on the road.
California state law doesn’t require cyclists to wear a bike helmet if they are aged 18 or above, but you should consider doing so regardless. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI), helmets reduce the risk of brain and head injury by up to 88%.
There are various types of helmets you can choose from depending on your cycling needs, from lightweight road cycling helmets to visor-fitted mountain bike helmets and full-face helmets for maximum protection against wind, rain, sun, cold, and flying stones. Whichever style you choose, ensure you always have a properly fitted helmet.
If you wear a regular road cycling helmet, you may want to buy additional eye protection as well. Protective glasses are essential bike safety gear, especially for longer rides, that can protect your eyes from dust, dirt, flying insects, and other debris.
Bike gloves serve three essential functions. They protect your hands and fingers from the elements and provide a more secure and comfortable grip on the handlebars. Crucially, they can also protect the skin on your hands and palms in a bike accident as you instinctively reach out to stop your fall.
Long-finger gloves will keep your hands warm in the cold, whereas short-finger gloves are ideal for riding in warmer weather as they provide ventilation. You can also opt for gloves reinforced with wrist braces for an extra layer of protection.
Angular joints are usually the first points of contact with the ground in a bike crash. With this in mind, consider investing in protective gear like knee and elbow pads to protect your joints and the delicate skin in those areas and provide a buffer against the ground if you fall.
Toe clips secure your feet firmly on the pedals, reducing the risk of your shoes slipping off as you ride. In addition to ensuring a more robust foot grip, toe clips provide cycling leverage and help you pedal with more force and control.
The downside of using toe clips is that they could trap your feet in an emergency, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before buying this safety equipment.
Many accidents happen because car drivers don’t see cyclists on the road even when they are in plain sight. This phenomenon is known as inattentional blindness. To reduce the risk of these types of crashes, the California Vehicle Code requires all cyclists to equip their bikes with lights and other reflective gear, including:
In addition to the mandatory front and rear lights and reflective gear, consider wearing neon or reflective clothing and riding with daytime lights to increase visibility. A controlled experiment in Denmark from 2004 and 2005 showed that permanent lights reduced bike accidents by 19%.
Visibility isn’t just about other motorists and cyclists seeing your bike. When approaching pedestrians or cars from the rear or encountering road hazards, you can alert others of your presence by sounding a bell or a horn.
A mirror can help you see what’s behind you quicker than a glance over your shoulder when you need to swerve abruptly to avoid hitting a sudden hazard. This way, you don’t even have to take your eyes off the road.
There are many types of mirrors to choose from, including:
Handlebar and glove mirrors provide a clear view of what’s behind you when riding, while helmet mirrors allow you to see wider.
A bike kit is another must-have bicycle safety gear. Standard bike kits include:
This basic equipment will enable you to handle a wide array of bike tire issues, from small punctures to blowouts.
Even a relatively innocuous crash can knock you off your bike and cause minor injuries like road rash. It is important to clean and cover such wounds as soon as possible, so you should always carry a first aid kit when going on a bike ride. At a minimum, your kit should include:
Bicycle accidents often have minimal evidence and no eyewitnesses. The outcome of your case may depend largely on your recollection if the other party disputes liability in a he-said, she-said scenario. A camera mounted onto your helmet or bike handles can provide invaluable video footage that shows what actually happened.
Even experienced cyclists with high-quality equipment can sustain injuries while bike riding. Fortunately, you may be able to seek compensation under California state law.
At Khalil Law Group, we provide legal advice and representation to cyclists injured on the road. If you were injured in a bike crash in Orange County, call (714) 617-7870 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced bicycle crash attorney.