Here are some tips to keep you safe.

Be a Better Rider

Improve your skills so you can deal with anything.

Improve Your Handling Skills

Being a better bike handler means you’re less likely to crash due to obstacles.

Try these practice drills you can do anywhere.

Practice Crashing

Practice crashing. Here’s how.

So when you do crash, you are less likely to get hurt.

Have Emergency Contacts

Using ICE (Not Ice)

No, not ice, ICE.

It stands for “In Case of Emergency.”

I was just reading about this in Bicycle Retailer. If you carry a cell phone with you on your rides, will anyone know who to contact if you’re in an accident? (it wouldn’t hurt to carry another form of ID, but that’s another story…)

They will if you put “ICE” in your contacts and then have the phone number of a close friend or relative. Supposedly rescue workers and/or paramedics are being trained to look for this. (i.e. if they find you along the road unconscious, they will open up your phone and look for a contact named ICE that they can call.)

It only takes a minute to do – be safe!

I’d also suggest wearing a helmet, and perhaps investing in a Road ID, but that’s a story for another day!

Update: This feature is actually being built-in to most new cell phones for 2007 and beyond.

Road ID

Wear a Road ID or similar. Another one is called the Crash Tag.

I wrote a review of the Road ID bracelet.

Safety Gear

Wear Sunglasses

Not only are your eyes important and you want to protect them from UV rays…

If a bug flies into your eye, you could crash! And then you’ll probably sustain even more damage.

Wear a Helmet

Wear a helmet. It won’t prevent a crash, but you’ll be glad you were wearing one if you do.

Some people say it’s sexy.

5 Simple Ways To Ride Safely In City Traffic

As a cyclist, you will eventually find yourself riding downtown in traffic. I try to avoid these areas, but when you’re putting in some serious miles, or if you live in the city and have to ride out to the country roads, it’s hard to avoid them all the time.

Here are some tips to stay safe when you encounter these areas:

1. Pretend drivers don’t see you.

Pretend drivers don’t see you, because they probably don’t! You really should expect people to hit you or force you off the road, simply because they are oblivious to your presence. They might have their mind on something, not expect to see any cyclists on a certain road, or of course they could be on their cell phones.

To increase your safety, try to maintain a “cushion” around you. Typically this would involve time and space factors, allowing you to escape danger if necessary (like if a disrespectful motorist encroaches on your personal space.)

A similar tip: some people say to look drivers in the eye to make your presence known… well, if they’re not looking at you in the first place, what good does that do? (If they are looking at you, then hopefully they’re not planning on running you over!)

2. Watch parked cars.

Be careful around parked cars, too, because they can still be hazardous!

Don’t ride too close or you might get doored. (That’s when a car door opens right in front of you and you hit it.) If you have to ride somewhat close, watch for people’s heads. If someone is in the car, there’s a good chance of getting doored.

And certainly watch for lights on and wheels turned towards the road – the car might pull out in front of you.

3. Be visible.

The more visible you are, the easier it is for drivers to see you.

Lights. Reflective tape. Reflective clothing.

Don’t wear a black outfit at night.

4. Don’t run red lights.

It seems obvious (since it is illegal), but running a red light usually puts you right in front of fast moving cars. That’s not smart.

And drivers hate it. It happens all the time in big cities where traffic sucks, so it’s somewhat expected there, but still…

5. Expect the worst, crazy stuff.

Pedestrians and drivers do some crazy stuff. Just when you think a person will walk normally, they’ll start dancing around and knock you down.

Drivers will pass too close or not pass at all, or wave you through an intersection that you can cross perfectly well, legally, according to the traffic signal.

In the future, follow these tips and you’ll ride safely through traffic and can enjoy the rest of your ride!


Sometimes the danger is from a criminal (e.g. thief, robber, sexual predator) or an animal (e.g. angry dog). You need to be ready to protect yourself.

Being alert is your best defense. After that…

One idea is to carry pepper spray. It is potent, effective against humans and animals alike, and it’s lightweight.

High-Powered Pepper Spray: The Kimber PepperBlaster

kimber pepperblaster

Want to protect yourself when you’re out riding? Considering some of the crazy things people and animals do, safety is an important consideration. So take a look at the Kimber PepperBlaster – you could call it a pepper spray gun.

At $40, it’s more expensive than other pepper sprays, but it is claimed to be much more effective. It actually shoots a liquid stream of pepper spray (oleoresin capsicum) at 90mph up to 13ft.

I might write a full review in the future, although it’s hard to say when I’ll have the opportunity (i.e. misfortune) to use it.

Does it look like a good idea? Yes, you never know when you might need some help with self-defense (especially if someone wants to start a fight after you’ve just ridden 100 hilly miles…)

Is it cheap? It’s probably the most expensive type of pepper spray available, but it’s cheaper than a gun. (And how can you put a price on safety?)

Read more about the Kimber PepperBlaster:

Buy online:

(also available in red)

This article was first published on January 19, 2006. It was last updated on August 11, 2019.

You may also like
1 Comment
  1. This is true. My brother is a cop and he said this to me about when I ride. Definately recommended.

Leave a Reply