As a bicyclist, you are quite vulnerable when riding on the roads. In an accident, you can suffer serious injuries if you are not wearing the proper safety gear.
Helmets.org explains that safety gear goes far beyond a helmet, even though it is an important piece of equipment. A helmet will protect your head and brain from severe injury.
Visibility is key to your safety on a bike. You need to ensure that drivers can easily see you and know you are there. Lights are helpful if you ride after dark, even if you ride in an area with streetlights. You may also want to use a flag, which can make you visible at all times of the day.
Gloves offer you hand protection. They can help you avoid skin damage if you fall as the natural reaction is to put out your arms and catch yourself using your hands. In the winter, they also help keep you warm.
All other modes of transportation have mirrors, so your bicycle should, too. They do not come standard on most bikes, but you can easily add them. Mirrors allow you to see what is going on around you and give you a better chance of seeing vehicles as they approach you.
You may also wish to wear some type of padding to protect vulnerable areas, such as your elbows and knees. You may need to find padding or protective clothing made for bicyclists as standard knee and elbow pads may limit your movements too much and become a safety issue on their own.
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