Here's what cyclists need to know to stay safe on the road

Are you a cyclist? Riding a bicycle can be a fun experience, but it carries with it certain risks. Here's what you need to know.

Riding a bicycle is a wonderful way to relax and unwind after a long week at work. It's no secret that cycling can help you lose weight, get in shape, and burn energy. If you're looking for a way to start toning your body or increasing your endurance, cycling will enable you to do that, but cycling isn't without risk. According to People Powered Movement, there are approximately 45,000 bicycle accidents each year. The consequences for bike accidents vary, but may include head trauma, minor bruising or even fractures. In some cases, bicycle accidents can be fatal, so what's a cyclist to do? If you're going to be spending time on the road, there are a few things you need to know about staying safe while riding your bike.

First off, make sure you always use proper safety gear. While many cyclists simply want to hop on their bikes and go, the reality is that safety gear is designed to protect you in case you have an accident while on your bike. You should always choose to wear a helmet when you ride a bicycle. Additionally, you need to choose reflective gear that will help other cyclists and motor vehicle drivers to see you. Remember that sometimes, cyclists can be quite difficult to spot. Depending on the time of day you're riding your bike, drivers may have the sun in their eyes or may have difficulty with night vision. Choosing reflective gear can help reduce your chances of being in an accident.

It's also important that you pay careful attention while you're riding your bike. Make sure you're aware of your surroundings and that you take care to follow all local laws. Following the rules of the road when it comes to riding, turning, and stopping will help reduce and prevent accidents when you're on the road with vehicles. Remember that unlike vehicles, you don't have turn signals. Make sure you take advantage of hand signals when you're riding your bike so that you can clearly communicate with vehicles as to what your next move is going to be.

Understand that most bicycle deaths happen between 6PM and 9PM in the evening, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you must ride your bike during these hours, take extra care to stay safe. Be aware of the cars around you and stay in designated bike lanes while riding.

It's also important that you ensure your bike is in good working order before you ride. For example, always check to make sure that your tires have the right amount of air. Are your brakes working? Are your reflective lights in place? Taking a few minutes to check your bike before you ride can help prevent accidents.

If you are involved in a bicycle accident, make sure you seek medical care as soon as possible. You should also file a police report promptly to ensure you're able to document the accident. Once you're safe, contact a personal injury attorney who is familiar with bicycle accidents so they can help you understand what your next steps should be.