Helping avoid common hazards when bicycling

View of bicycle handle bars riding down open road

Cycling is a fun, recreational sport, but it can also be dangerous if the proper precautions aren't taken while on the road. It's easy to fall into a daydream as you pedal or watch your front spokes, but this can cause accidents. Staying focused on the road and where you're going can help keep you safe. But sometimes, even the most observant and experienced cyclists encounter hazards. Here are five of the most common hazards when bicycling and how to avoid them.

Cars

Always ride with the flow of traffic. This way you are more predictable and visible to drivers. In addition, it is best to ride in a straight line while also obeying traffic signs and using hand signals. The most common accidents that occur between cyclists and cars is when the car is pulling out of a driveway, alley, parking lot, or side street to the right of the cyclist. When you see a car emerging, make eye contact with the driver. If you cannot make eye contact, there are a few things you can do:  1. slow down 2. Stop 3. wave 4. yell “hey.” Consider getting a bike horn if you will be riding in heavy traffic or metropolitan areas.

Pedestrians

To avoid hitting pedestrians, it’s always best practice to slow down at each and every intersection, even if you have a green light. Some pedestrians might cross against the light if they don't see any cars, glossing right over an approaching cyclist.

Wet roads

You can't predict the weather, but you can be prepared for it. Wet roads from rain become slippery and it will make it harder for you to stop.  Plus, it’s easier to slide out, so brake earlier and lighter. Avoid riding into standing water unless you can clearly see the road beneath it. Otherwise, you run the risk of riding into a pothole and damaging your bike. In addition, try not to ride over metal such as manhole covers and grates as metal becomes slippery when wet. When taking corners in the rain, keep your bike more upright and lean your body more into the turn than the bicycle.

Potholes

Potholes can damage your bicycle, or worse, injure you. When you see a pothole, check for cars and try to ride around them. If you are unable to get around it without veering into traffic, jump your bicycle over it. Learning this skill, will come in handy.

Railroad tracks

Riding around tracks is not an option when you come upon them. To cross them without crashing or damaging your bicycle, slow down, remain upright, and position your bicycle perpendicular to the rails.

We hope these tips help you stay safe while cycling. For added safety, consider specialized bicycle insurance from Markel Specialty. Markel can provide coverage for your bike and the things that are important to you like your spare parts, cycling apparel and accessories. (Plus, we can also offer competitive fee reimbursement if you are unable to race!) In addition, you can get roadside assistance. With this coverage, you'll have nationwide 24-hour emergency service with up to 35 miles of transportation per breakdown – all for only $12 a year per bicycle.

Get a fast, free online quote today and get the protection and peace of mind you deserve.

View of bicycle handle bars riding down open road
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
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