How Cyclists Can Stay Safe On Rural Roads

Road Safety for Cyclists

Published on January 6th, 2021

Bicycling on rural roads can help you get away from the heavy traffic of city streets, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any hazards. Bicycle safety is just as important in rural areas, particularly when motorists are traveling at faster speeds.

No matter where you ride, it’s necessary to check your brakes, tires, and steering condition of your bike before you begin cycling. Additionally, these safety tips can help you protect yourself in rural settings.

Don’t Expect Drivers To See You

While country roads provide beautiful scenery, don’t let yourself get too lost in the moment. As a cyclist, you can ride next to traffic in a city setting and drivers will have a tendency to be more aware that there may be cyclists on the road.

However, when you’re cycling on a rural road, car and truck drivers are far less likely to expect bicyclists on the road.

For this reason, it’s important to stick to the side of the road and be wary of oncoming traffic. Even when you may have the right of way at an intersection, be cautious of automobile drivers approaching you on the roadway.

Avoid Getting Trapped in a Right Turn Collision

As you learn more about bicycle accidents FAQs by visiting online resources, you’ll notice that one of the biggest hazards cyclists face is in getting cornered by a vehicle making a right turn.

This is true in approaching rural intersections as well as holding true for busier urban intersections.

Often, the cyclist may not realize a vehicle is approaching from behind as they approach the intersection and, as they continue to ride straight, a driver may accelerate and try to make a right turn in front of the cyclist.

You can avoid this situation by looking behind you or using a mirror to see if there is traffic approaching from behind. If so, you should slow or stop long enough to give the vehicle enough time to make the turn.

Be Wary of the Sun

Road Safety for Cyclists

If you’re riding west in the evening, the sun will be in your eyes for a part of your journey.

It will also interfere with the sight of drivers who are coming up behind you and, as a result, they may not see you at all. If they do notice you, they may not be able to track where you are as the sun affects their vision.

Similarly, traveling east as the sun sets will affect visibility for drivers traveling in the opposite direction. On narrow, rural roads, this can still pose a safety hazard even though you’re on the opposite side of the road.

Riding on the shoulder and watching for turning vehicles can help you minimize the risks of an accident.

Use Bells and Lights

Even if the bike safety laws in your area don’t require headlights and bike bells, adding them to your bicycle will provide you with an added layer of safety.

A headlight can be used day and night to help oncoming vehicles see you sooner. This will let them know to watch for you as they travel closer.

The bell will help you alert a driver who is making a turn or approaching your position, allowing you to share the road together in a safer manner. A bell or a horn will be more jarring than trying to yell to get their attention.

In addition to keeping your bicycle in good condition, you should regularly evaluate the condition of your helmet and any additional safety gear [source].

Damaged safety equipment can result in more serious injuries if you are involved in a rural accident, so any safety gear that appears damaged should be replaced before your next ride.

Keeping the proper safety gear in good condition will help you guard against serious injuries in the rare likelihood that you do suffer an accident.