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How can bicyclists reduce their chance of an accident?

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Now that the weather is getting nicer, many people are looking to make the most of Minnesota's too-short summer.

A lot of people will turn to biking as an easy way to get fresh air and exercise. However, what part-time cyclists may not realize is what safe biking really looks like. Here are a few behaviors all bikers should make into habits:

Be seen by cars

Being seen is perhaps one of the biggest struggles cyclists face. Many cars simply do not look for cyclists. Especially early in the spring when the weather first begins to thaw, drivers are not accustomed to seeing bicycles on their daily commutes.

Wearing reflective tape, safety vests or bright clothing can help you stand out. Mounting lights on the front and back of your bike can also help. Turn them on whenever the sun is obscured, and you can improve the odds that a driver will notice you.

Follow traffic laws

Seasoned cyclists understand that these laws keep traffic flowing smoothly. Obeying all traffic laws means riding with cars (not against them as some think) and following stop signs and traffic lights.

Whenever possible, stay off the sidewalk. Vehicles usually don't expect fast-moving objects like bicycles to be on a sidewalk and may not watch for you when backing out or turning.

By obeying traffic laws, you are riding predictably. This helps drivers better anticipate your actions and avoid surprises.

Keep your ears open

A relaxing trail ride with a soundtrack can be a great way to spend an afternoon. However, if you're commuting around cars it's important to keep your ears open, not plugged with headphones.

By listening to the traffic around you, you keep aware of your surroundings and your riding situation. Busy roads require vigilance and listening to music or worrying about changing songs reduces your ability to take in those around you.

Riding safe

Bicyclists are considerably more vulnerable on the road than cars, which makes safety even more important. While you can do things to improve your safety as a rider, there's no accounting for inattentive drivers.

If you're in an accident on a bicycle, a skilled attorney can be a valuable resource.

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