Along with board games, yoga mats, and yeast, bikes have been flying off the shelves in Texas since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
That’s according to NBCDFW, who called bicycles “the new toilet paper.” At companies like North Texas-based Bicycles Inc., bicycle sales are soaring, reports the news outlet.
The increase in interest in bikes across Texas may be due to many Texans simply being out of work and restless, while others have touted trying to work off the “Quarantine 15”.
In fact, according to a New York Times report, the rise in cyclists has created a “severe” bicycle shortage. We imagine it will also cause an increase in the number of bicycle accidents.
An Increase in Bikers Means an Increase in Bike Accidents
For all the health benefits and enjoyment that come with biking, an uptick in new bikers does have its downside. Across the state, there have been reports of cycling fatalities and injuries, including hit-and-run incidents.
Texas is notoriously one of the most dangerous states for bicyclists, especially in larger cities like Dallas. Before the pandemic, an average of 60 cyclists were killed in bike accidents on Texas roads each year. The increase in novice bikers could mean even more cyclist fatalities in our state in 2020.
If you’re one of the many who have picked up on the cycling trend as well, then heed our warning: stay safe out there.
Six Tips for Safe Cycling During the Pandemic
Whether you are a seasoned or newbie cyclist in Texas, there are strategies you can follow to greatly reduce your risk of being injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle. We’ve shared six important tips for safe cycling below.
Wear a Helmet
Before you begin every bike ride, make sure you wear a properly fitting helmet. A durable, snugly fitting helmet could reduce your risk of suffering a serious head injury by 50 percent.
Wear Bright Clothing
Along with a helmet, always wear bright clothing when you cycle to increase your visibility. If you are wearing dark clothing, be sure to wear a reflective vest. Without bright clothing or a reflective vest, you may be almost invisible to drivers until the last moment.
Inspect Your Bike
In addition to strapping on a helmet and slipping into bright clothing, you should check your bike closely before starting to ride. Make sure your seat is adjusted and locked at the proper height, and that the tires are sufficiently inflated. Your bike should be equipped with reflectors, in addition to a horn or bell, rearview mirror, and headlight.
Follow a Safe Ride Route
Using tools like Google Maps or MapMyRide, plan out your route based on roads that have bike paths. Whenever possible, steer clear of busy roads and intersections.
Avoid Peak Travel Times
Even though there certainly is less traffic in Texas thanks to pandemic stay-at-home hours, you still should try to avoid traditionally busy hours. This includes the period between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. as well as 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This is when the most drivers will be commuting.
Obey the Laws of the Road
Remember, bicyclists must follow the laws of the roads, just as cars do. That means obeying street signs, signals, and road markings, in addition to driving in the same direction as traffic. Refrain from texting or listening to music while bicycling so you can focus on your surroundings and the traffic flow.
About the Author:
Since she started practicing law in Texas in 2004, Sharon Fulgham has consistently been named a Rising Star by SuperLawyers (2012-2019) and a Top Attorney by Fort Worth Magazine. Additionally, she has worked with some of the best attorneys in the state and served as a partner at the biggest law firm in Fort Worth. Sharon has successfully handled cases at both the state and federal level, and always provides her clients with legal services that are personalized to fit their needs. Outside of work, the most important things in Sharon’s life are her faith, her family (husband Brandon and three children), and serving her community.