California has been one of the hardest hit states during the current pandemic. With lockdowns in place throughout the Bay Area, people have been looking for ways to keep themselves occupied. Cycling in particular has gained even more popularity during the COVID crisis as a form of both exercise and entertainment.
San Francisco had some of the strictest guidelines on what residents were allowed to do during lockdown, but biking was always allowed. That’s because it’s easier to maintain social distancing while on a bike. It’s only natural to stand within a few feet of other people while walking, but that’s against regulations. On a bike, maintaining at least six feet of distance between cyclists is much more natural. However, just because cycling has suddenly become popular doesn’t mean that safety is no longer a concern.
In fact, bicycle safety is now more important than ever. With hospitals and medical staff being pushed to their limit, everyone in the Bay Area should be taking safety precautions in every aspect of their lives. This is not the time to need serious medical help if you can avoid it.
Luckily, bicycle safety is as simple as following some common-sense guidelines. By following basic safety rules, biking can be a normal part of your life during lockdown. You can keep up your physical and mental health without worrying about staying safe.
1. Wear Helmets and Safety Gear
No matter what, you should always wear a helmet while biking. Wear a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury during a crash by as much as 88%. That is by far the simplest and easiest way to keep biking a safe and healthy hobby.
You should also wear bright colors and use reflectors on your bike. It’s legally required for bikes to have back, side, and pedal reflectors. This helps keep you visible even to distracted drivers. Many bike accidents are caused by vehicle drivers, not by cyclists. Doing your best to remind drivers of your presence will help you prevent accidents that aren’t your fault.
2. Avoid Busy Roads and Trails
With the reduction of vehicle traffic, many roads are becoming filled with cyclists, instead. While that’s exciting for everyone, it’s still best if you avoid biking in crowded areas. Biking on roads still puts you at risk of getting hit by a car that isn’t paying attention. Even crowded trails open you up to the possibility of hitting or being hit by another cyclist. Overcrowding is dangerous for cyclists – look for trails and roads without as many people, and you’ll be safer all around.
3. Follow Social Distancing Guidelines
The other reason you should avoid crowded trails is to allow you to follow social distancing guidelines. If you’re around people who do not live in your home, you need to keep at least six feet of distance between you and them. Many bike lanes, trails, and parks don’t allow you to pass people while leaving six feet of distance.
If you go biking with friends you don’t live with, you need to follow social distancing guidelines as well. The easiest way to do this is to bike single file. The bikes themselves act as a handy social-distancing tool. Keeping six feet apart is simpler when you have tires and handlebars to account for.
There have been rumors spread that proper social distancing requires leaving as much as 60 feet between cyclists. Luckily, that turns out to be untrue. Official studies have not been done that prove this “fact.” Biking on trails with other people is still safe, as long as you leave yourself those six feet minimum.
4. Limit Outings to Once a Day
Many places around the world requested that people limit their exercise outings to once a day. While that’s not the requirement in the Bay Area, it’s still a smart idea. The more frequently you leave your home, the more often you’re going to run into other people. You’re also going to be touching outdoor surfaces like doorknobs more frequently. Instead, do a single longer bike ride, and get the same amount of exercise in a single outing.
Biking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the weather without violating the new order to close beaches. Sidewalks and roadside trails are still open for bikers around the state. By following regular bike safety and social distancing rules, you can enjoy this hobby safely and avoid cabin fever.