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The most essential bicycle safety equipment

Preventing bicycle accidents involves three primary components: good city and road planning, drivers and bicyclists who follow the rules of the road and stay attentive and careful and proper bicycle safety equipment. With regard to the latter, what follows is a list of the essential bicycle safety equipment that every Athens cyclist should use.

A safely maintained bicycle: The first most important piece of bicycle safety equipment is your bike itself. If you don't maintain your bike -- if you don't make sure the brakes stop quickly, that the tires are in good shape, etc. -- you're more likely to get into a crash. Be sure your bike is properly maintained at all times and you'll reduce the chances of getting into a crash.

A good helmet: Helmet technology is constantly improving. The more advanced your helmet happens to be, the better capable it will be of protecting you. In fact, a good helmet reduces your chances of suffering a head injury by a full 85 percent. Wearing a helmet might not prevent you from breaking your arm or your collarbone, but it could prevent you from suffering a deadly head injury.

Reflective clothing: The better cars can see you, the better they'll be at avoiding you. Keep a reflective vest in your bike bag. It may not be "stylish," but these vests have saved numerous lives.

Bicycle reflectors and bike lights: Clip-on bike lights, helmet lights, reflectors on the front, back and sides of your bike and any other devices like this are essential to staying visible. You should have a white bike light on the front of your bike and a red one on the back. At the very least, never ride your bike at night without reflectors, as you will be virtually invisible in the dark.

As much as bicyclists do to stay safe, there is always the risk of getting hurt by a negligent motorist. If this happened to you, you might want to pursue financial restitution in court by filing a personal injury claim.

Source: E-Medicine Health, "Bicycle Safety," accessed Oct. 25, 2017

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