Whether mountain biking or road biking, rider safety is extremely important. There are four steps you can take to protect yourself, each with a recommendation as one of the best bike safety accessories. I’ll dive into each of these steps covering why they are so important, and how they keep you safe.
Riding a bike can be extremely dangerous, but with these four steps you will be on your way to a safer riding experience. These are the best bike safety accessories to prevent accidents, as well as protecting you when accidents do happen.
1. Protect Your Head – Bike Helmet
The first must have item on this list is a no-brainer. The bike helmet is a must have item to stay safe when riding a bike. With bike helmet safety there is a lot to talk about. Read: What is the Safest Bike Helmet for in-depth information on helmet safety., including one of the largest helmet safety tests ever performed.
Each year in the United States alone almost 800 cyclists are killed. Around 500 of those deaths involve injuries to the head and face area. Wearing a helmet reduces your risk of head injuries, plain and simple. Whether you are racing in a competition, or taking a casual stroll through the neighborhood, wearing a helmet will protect your head when you have an accident.
2. Increase Visibility Behind You – Radar Tail Light
Helmets help to keep your head safe, but avoiding accidents all together is even more safe. Many of my close calls have come from cars sneaking up behind me. Some situations have been my fault. For example, I went outside the bike lane to avoid debris without checking traffic first. Other situations have not been my fault with motorists hugging or even crossing into the bike lane, or other mountain bikers on the trail not using a bell. Thanks to my radar tail light (Read: Garmin Varia RTL515 Review) those are no longer concerns.
The radar tail light sends a signal to my cell phone or bike computer to alert me of cars within a specific radius. I can see how fast the vehicle, or other cyclist, is approaching me, and how far behind they are. Radar tail lights are amazing on the road. Their practicality on the trail is questionable, but it has been nice to have when cyclists without bells are behind me. I also feel more comfortable riding with a single ear bud in if I know nobody, vehicle or bike, is coming up from behind unnoticed.
If a radar tail light isn’t within your budget, invest in a normal tail light and mirror. The tail light aspect makes it so others can see you better, and the mirror allows you to see them. Together, not as good as the radar tail light, but for over $100 in savings it is the best value option.
3. Increase Visibility In Front – Headlights
Seeing where you are going, and being seen by vehicles and cyclists approaching you is the third step. The best bike safety accessories for this are headlights. Depending on the light conditions you ride in, the number of lumens you need will vary.
For riding at night I’d recommend a minimum of 600 lumens. I’d also recommend running a two headlight system. One on your handlebars, the other mounted to your helmet. This will allow you to see where you are looking, as well as what is in front of you.
Daytime headlights are all about the blinking pattern. Studies have shown a random blinking pattern is more recognizable than a steady blink pattern. If you only ride during the day you can worry less about lumens and more about battery life and blinking pattern options preloaded into the headlight.
4. Wear High Visibility Clothing
The fourth and final step to stay safe on your bike is once again related to making sure you stay visible. Wearing high visibility colors like the common bright yellow you see on many cyclists is popular for a reason. It works at keeping you save.
There are countless options when it comes to cycling jerseys and other high visibility apparel. You can get a short sleeved jersey for less than $19 and a long sleeved option for $23 on Amazon. Here is a link to my favorite: Dooy Men’s Cycling Jersey.
If you follow these four steps every time you ride your bike it will lead to a safer riding experience. If you think I missed one of the best bike safety accessories please let me know in the comments below.