Commuting via bicycle is one of the best ways to maintain your health and minimize your carbon footprint. If you don’t follow certain precautions, however, it can be risky, not just to yourself but others as well. To ensure the safest experience for everyone involved in your “green” commute, learn what to do—and what not to do—en route.
Follow Local Cyclist Laws
Every local area has different regulations regarding proper cyclist behavior, though many share the same rules. For example, in the village of Dobbs Ferry, NY, it is only legal to carry a toddler as a passenger if they’re secured to a separate seat. Knowing area codes will keep you safer and help you avoid unnecessary fines.
Keep Your Bike Maintained
Stay on top of maintenance by keeping your chain oiled, tires full of air, and brakes clean and well-adjusted. If you need any bike repairs or wheel realignments, avoid riding until your bicycle is safe to use again. Additionally, ensure your lights always have enough battery power and consider bringing spares if you’ll be riding after dark.
Wear a Helmet & Appropriate Clothing
Safety matters more than fashion, especially when you’re riding a bike, so always wear a helmet, and breathable, close-fitting clothing with reflective tape if possible. You can always bring a change of clothes for when you arrive. If rain has been predicted for the area, leave earlier than usual, shielding yourself with a rain poncho and protective eyewear.
Ride on the Sidewalk
Just because you see children do this sometimes doesn’t mean you should. If you’re commuting to work via bicycle, you need to ride on the road or a bike lane—not the shoulder or sidewalk. It may be nerve-wracking to share the street with cars, but riding on the sidewalk makes it more dangerous for pedestrians, and could even put you at risk because of the extra bumps and ramps.
Forget Your ID
Even though you aren’t driving, you should still keep photo identification with you at all times when you’re commuting via bicycle. There is always the possibility that you may need to identify yourself to police.
Neglect to Lock Up
Invest in a quality bike lock and find a secure place to keep your bicycle while you work. If possible, see if you can park it indoors (though this isn’t always allowed in buildings). Find out if the bicycle parking area is monitored with CCTV.
If you live in Westchester County and need any bike repairs or adjustments, contact Endless Trail Bikeworx. They’re located in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and offer a full selection of bicycles, accessories, riding apparel, and maintenance services. Call (914) 674-8567 for questions or view their website for more information.