Riding a bike to school saves gas money, and you can feel good that you aren’t contributing toxic pollution into the environment. In addition to financial and environmental benefits, riding a bike keeps you in shape and saves money on a gym membership. It’s also a way to wake up in the morning, enjoy the great outdoors, and relax at the end of a busy day. A good-quality, properly fitting helmet is the first critical step to staying safe on a bicycle, but it’s only the beginning.
–Equip your bicycle with a front headlight. The light is required by law, and it keeps you safe by making you more visible to motorists. A helmet-mounted headlight is especially good, because it allows you to look directly at drivers, ensuring that they see you. An LED headlight will last much longer than an old-fashioned battery-operated headlight.
–Wear sturdy shoes. Avoid shoes and clothing that might get caught in the chain, such as loose pants or shoes with long shoelaces. Never wear heels or flip flops.
–Never wear earphones or headphones. It may be fun to listen to music while you ride your bike, but headphones prevent you from hearing noises around you (including car horns).
–Be sure your bicycle is equipped with a mirror. It can fit on your helmet, the handlebars, or even on your glasses. Although you should continue to look back over your shoulder, a mirror helps you to keep a constant eye on traffic.
–Honk when necessary. If your bicycle doesn’t have a horn, get one, and don’t be afraid to use it.
A busy college student who holds a demanding part-time job, Brittany Kuecker maintains a high level of physical fitness by riding her bike to classes at South Dakota State University. She also enjoys working out.