Riding a bicycle is an excellent way to spend time outside. It can be a great way to be with your family. There are beautiful bike paths all over the country that allow for different levels of skill and speed when cycling.

Using your bike as an alternate means of transportation is a proactive way to help save our environment. By riding your bicycle to work or to the store you are not contributing to the exhaust excreted from automobiles. Riding your bike is also a great way to exercise. Some of the exercise benefits include increased balance, flexibility, strength and stamina.

It is important when bicycling to ride safely. Below are 7 safety tips you need to know.

1. Ride on the right side of the roadway.
Most of the time the safest way to ride is as part of the traffic, going with the flow of the normal traffic pattern. Bicyclists who ride this way get where they are going faster and safer.

2. Know your hand signals.
For a left turn, point your left arm straight out. For a right turn, point your right arm straight out. If you are slowing or stopping you may use either the left or right hand. To do this put your arm out from the side of your body so the palm of your hand is held facing back toward traffic and the other riders behind you.

3. Always wear a helmet, even on bike paths.
There have been serious bicycle accidents that have happened on quiet residential streets, on bike paths and in parking lots. Many bicycle accidents do not even involve automobiles. Accidents can happen to riders of any age, therefore you should wear a helmet regardless of your age. It should not matter whether you are riding across the street or on a busy road. Helmets are brightly colored so drivers can see you better. They also provide protection from the sun or rain. The main reason to wear a helmet is to protect your brain from injury if you were to collide into something unexpectedly.

4. Get a headlight.
Riding with a helmet is required by law. If you are riding at night, you should absolutely use a front headlight. Wearing a flashing headlight during the day is also encouraged. This will make you more visible to motorists.

5. Eat breakfast before riding.
A good breakfast will help start your metabolism and make sure you have plenty of energy when you are out on your ride.

6. Drink plenty of fluids.
I recommend you drink water or a sports drink so as not to get dehydrated. Make sure you drink through your ride even if you are not thirsty.

7. Maintain three feet of clearance.
When you are riding your bicycle make sure that you allow for a minimum of three feet between your bicycle and a parked car or one driving in the same direction. This helps to prevent accidents as well as establishes your safety zone.

Riding a bike is much cheaper than taking a car. When you start calculating gas, maintenance, insurance and other hidden costs you can easily estimate how much money you save by riding a bicycle. I try and ride my bicycle three times a week. When I return from my ride I feel relaxed, refreshed and energized. I hope you will enjoy a bike ride soon.

Source by Carrington Wells