Some of the roads on Cape Cod aren’t exactly the most bicycle friendly, and it’s important to know how to stay safe. Go with the flow. Ride in the same direction as other traffic and ride as straight as possible. Be “predictable” so that drivers have a chance to anticipate your moves. Be sure to use hand signals when riding, both for you and anyone you may be riding with. You can point out potholes if you’re feeling nice. Never used hand signals before?
Here’s a guide: http://yhoo.it/iBzc2o
We all ride and drive on the same roads. As the saying goes--Same roads. Same rules. This means that you should be heeding those stop signs and red lights on your bike as you do in the car. It is a give and take that requires everyone’s cooperation. If you’re taking a family bike ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, be sure to stop at all road crossings, dismount your bike, and walk across. This ensures you’re treated as a pedestrian and means that drivers must yield to you in a crosswalk per Mass state law. Talk with the kids before you leave on your ride. Make sure they know the rules of the trail. Stay to the right. Let other pedestrians and cyclists know you’re passing by exclaiming “On your left!” before passing. (or at least ding your bell if you have one)
Really think about investing in some head insurance. Buy a helmet. Rest assured, they are lighter, more breathable, and much more fashionable than they used to be. You can be cool and wear a helmet at the same time. Brain injuries certainly aren’t sexy, and buying a helmet is a small investment to make when your health is put at such a risk.
Do you plan on riding early in the morning, at dusk, or at night? Be sure to have front and rear reflectors, pedal reflectors, and wheel reflectors. It’s paramount that drivers can see you in order to give you enough room to be safe. Seriously consider a light set. LED headlights and taillights are readily available at local bike shops starting at around ten dollars apiece. A small investment to ride in the dark more safely, and as an added bonus you’ll be able to see where you’re going!
Matt Van Gelder has worked in bike shops every summer since middle school. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Financial Services from Bryant University, he decided it was time to open his own shop, Dennis Cycle Center on the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Dennis, and combine his finance skills with his bike shop experience.