In light of the recent tragedy that happened on July 12, we decided to compile a list of tips on how to stay safe for local cyclists.
Bikes are definitely a big thing in Birmingham and pretty much everyone has ridden a bike before. But most people don’t follow correct bike safety before taking one out for a ride.
I had the chance to interview Birmingham Councilman Darrell O’Quinn, an avid cyclist, about some safety types for bike riders in the city.
1. Wear a helmet
This tip is pretty much common knowledge, but many people don’t actually use or even own a helmet. But its not about just having a helmet, you need to make sure it is durable and fits you correctly.
2. Have the proper safety equipment
A helmet that’s too small or a bike that too big are big problems when it comes to bike safety. Make sure that you bike has reflectors and lights for night time visibility.
“State law requires that you have, at minimum, reflectors on your bike,” O’Quinn said. “Having the proper safety equipment is extremely important.”
3. Stay alert = no headphones!
Keep your attention on the road and fellow drivers. Your alertness can help you detect road hazards and avoid collisions in a timely manner. Do not wear headphones while biking and keep your sense of hearing engaged. Never assume that drivers can see you on the roadway.
It is easy to get distracted but staying alert is a really good way to guarantee your safety. Staying alert doesn’t just involve vehicles or people but also problems in the road, street signs, traffic and more.
4. Follow the rules of the road
Staying up to date on the rules of the road is a great way ensure the safety of bikers, drivers and pedestrians.
“Bicycles have to adhere to the same rules of the road as automobiles. So, not riding on the sidewalk, obeying traffic signals and signage, all of those are good safety practices,” O’Quinn said.
To see the full list of bicycle laws in Alabama, click here.
5. Keep your bike maintained
Make sure to routinely check your brakes, tires, chains and overall quality of your bike. Keeping your bike maintained helps to avoid hazards or collisions.
“Despite the incident that happened last Friday, no one should think that riding a bicycle is inherently unsafe. If you practice some good safety rules and pay attention, riding a bike is just as safe as driving a car. In some circumstances, it may even be safer.”Darrell O’Quinn, Birmingham Councilman
On Friday, July 12, a man was stuck and killed by a semi-truck while riding a bike. He has still not been identified. Redemptive Cycles placed a ghost bike to honor the man.
There are several bike groups and shops within the city such as Redemptive Cycles, Birmingham Bicycle Club, Cahaba Cycles and more. If you are a part of any bicycle club or organization, make sure to keep yourself and others safe and aware.