Education

Rules of the Road: An Experienced Dasher’s Guide to Bike Safety

Biking in the city can be a very rewarding experience while following proper safety precautions.

7 min read
2023-12-05
Dx - Blog - Rules of the Road: An Experienced Dasher’s Guide to Bike Safety - Bike Dasher with bag

Any urban cycling, including bike dashing, involves navigating unlit streets, encountering unexpected elements, or contending with traffic and congestion. By prioritizing bike safety, not only can cyclists protect themselves, but they can also contribute to a safer environment for everyone on the road. 

These are the strategies experienced cyclists emphasize to safeguard themselves and others, including wearing protective equipment and strictly adhering to road rules.

Why bike safety is non-negotiable

Unlike being inside a four-wheeled vehicle like a car or truck, biking in the city exposes you to the physical world with less protection. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize bike and e-bike safety, both for health and healthcare costs, and to avoid expenses related to bike repair.

What cycling safety strategies are most effective?

Attention to weather conditions

Consult the weather forecast to avoid sudden rain showers or other dangerous conditions. Wearing weather-proof gear, such as a raincoat and waterproof pants, helps you to stay dry and comfortable. Additionally, in wet conditions, maintaining an upright posture while cycling enhances traction and promotes bike safety on the road.  

Watch for cars, trucks, and blind spots

The importance of remaining attentive to brake lights, wheel directions, and indicator lights should always be a priority. Be cautious of cars that could unexpectedly pull out in front of you. Pay special attention to parked cars to avoid sudden opening of vehicle doors or emerging vehicles from the curb. The cycling community highly emphasizes this advice for a reason – it can make a significant difference in preventing accidents.

Obey traffic rules 

Cyclists know that, by biking in the city, they are generally required to adhere to the same rules as drivers. It’s important to stay vigilant while on the road and be familiar with your city’s particular bike road rules, as there could be traffic signs specifically for cyclists. Cities may also have designated bike lanes, which are valued by cyclists and bike dashers alike as they make for a safer and more effective experience. 

Respect pedestrians

When sharing paths with pedestrians, cyclists prioritize respecting their space by slowing down, giving the right of way, and giving an audible warning when approaching. Be observant, anticipate their actions, and watch for sudden movements. Experienced cyclists always leave space between themselves and pedestrians on shared paths whenever possible.

Signal turns

Seasoned cyclists know that communication is key when navigating traffic. Familiarize yourself with bicycle hand signals for effective communication with fellow road users to indicate your intentions and ensure a safe riding experience. 

What equipment enhances bike safety?

In addition to bike safety strategies, there is a variety of equipment available to cyclists that is designed to enhance safety while biking in the city. 

Helmet

To fit a helmet properly, try it on without fastening the straps to determine if it fits snugly. A well-fitted helmet shouldn’t move too much when you shake your head. It should be positioned about two fingers’ width above your eyebrows and remain level and parallel to the ground. If your helmet sustains any damage, be sure to replace it Immediately. 

Reflective lights & clothing

Biking in the city in low-light conditions, especially at night, can be dangerous due to reduced visibility. Opting for brightly colored clothing and reflective gear enhances visibility to stand out on the road.

Dx - Blog - Rules of the Road: An Experienced Dasher’s Guide to Bike Safety - Bike dasher

What are other ways you can enhance bike safety?

Be rested 

Knowledgeable Dashers avoid riding during their usual sleeping hours and incorporate regular breaks into their journey after completing 4-hour dashing intervals. Research shows that staying awake for 17 hours equates to impaired driving, comparable to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. Being well-rested ensures better decision-making, making it easier to react to potential hazards.

Don’t speed or ride recklessly

Bike and e-bike enthusiasts know that riding too fast or recklessly not only endangers their safety, but also that of drivers or pedestrians, and can lead to accidents and injuries on the road. Experienced bike Dashers know that DoorDash considers vehicle type and traffic conditions when estimating delivery times, so there’s no need to speed when meeting a delivery. 

Maintenance is crucial for bike safety

Setting up a calendar reminder twice a year is useful for remembering to take in bikes for full-service check-ups, especially if it’s your main mode of transportation. Before every ride, visually inspect tires, seat height, brakes, and gears for any signs of damage or issues. 

Brake pads should also be monitored for signs of wear or damage. The League of American Bicyclists recommends replacing them when they lose thickness. It’s also good to check your bike tires before starting your Dash, as tire pressure decreases over time and with regular usage. Skinny tires typically require daily inflation, while fat tires can go a week between inflations.

Safety practices protect everyone

By adopting effective strategies like wearing protective equipment, staying vigilant in all weather conditions, being mindful of cars and blind spots, and respecting bicycle road rules, seasoned cyclists significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Maintaining adequate rest, avoiding reckless riding, and regularly servicing bikes, e-bikes and scooters are crucial for a safe and enjoyable biking experience

Author

Alex Campanelli

Alex Campanelli

Content Marketing Manager