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As more Michigan residents are taking to the road for their exercise, the state has seen a number of new cycling clubs formed. But road biking has some inherent dangers built in, especially when it comes to cars. Here are some safety considerations to think about as you organize your next group ride.
As you gather your fellow bicyclists, take a look at what you are wearing. Bright, reflective clothing is an essential element of biking safety. Together with lights and reflectors on the bikes themselves, your clothes increase (or inhibit) a driver’s ability to see you coming. If some of your cycling group isn’t dressed for visibility, suggest that they ride between other riders who are more easily seen.
Make sure someone in your cycling group is equipped for most common bicycle emergencies. Consider carrying a portable air pump, spare tube, and first aid kit. And make sure your riders have enough water (and snacks on long rides) to get them through the miles.
Everyone knows it is easiest to get a group ride together after members are done with work. But especially in the colder months, that means bicyclists are often chasing the sun. Make sure you know ahead of time when sunset will occur. Try to avoid riding directly west at that time. And unless your group is outfitted with lights, make sure your route brinks you home before dark.
Informal group bicycle rides are often known for meandering through neighborhoods on the whim of the lead cyclist. But one wrong turn could easily send an inexperienced biker onto a major traffic artery. Map your route to take advantage of bike lanes, multi-use trails, and dedicated bike routes wherever possible. Then share your route with everyone, including someone who isn’t riding. Modern ride-tracking devices and smartphone apps make it easy to make sure everyone knows where they are going.
Every bicycling group has a few newer members who may be less confident on their wheels. Encourage these cyclists to ride to the right and in the center of the pack. Strategically position your more experienced riders where they are most likely to interact with vehicles – in the front, back, and on the left edge of your group. (Michigan law allows cyclists to ride two across.) That way, should a motorist give your group a close call, you won’t have to worry about a novice biker making a bad split-second decision.
The bicycle accident attorneys at Christensen Law want your next cycling club event to be a success. Planning a successful event for a cycling club takes skill, patience, and awareness of key safety concerns. Make sure your next ride is a good one by keeping safety in mind from day one.