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Do you commute on a bicycle?

People commute via bicycle for many reasons. Some do it for environmental purposes--one fewer car on the road. Some love exercise and combine that with a commute. Another group may not be able to afford a car, but they can afford a bicycle that gets the job done.

Whether you commute on a bicycle for at least one of these reasons or another one, here are a few safety tips that may help.

Have a backup plan

A bicycle commute might be feasible most of the time but maybe not always. For example, perhaps it is a heavy-rain day or extremely windy. Rather than risk your safety venturing out, you may want to have at least one backup plan thought out in advance. You could make an agreement with your employer to telecommute these days, or a co-worker or ride-sharing driver can give you a ride.

Your backup plan for some circumstances might be to ride anyway! Perhaps you have the money to buy a nice rain jacket for these days.

You do not need to spring for something fancy and expensive

Many bicycles will do just fine for your commute. You do not necessarily need something special and costly to obtain, so you might prefer to use the money you would have spent on a fancier bike to buy a better helmet or reflective clothes. That said, the bike you use should pass a basic safety inspection, for example, with properly inflated tires, firmly attached pedals and an undamaged frame. The bicycle should also be free of rust.

Wear a helmet

You absolutely need a helmet to stay as safe as possible. If you commute in low-light situations or in inclement weather, reflective gear on your bike and clothes helps make you more visible.

Look out for parked cars

It may be parked cars that will give you the greatest headache. Imagine riding your bicycle down the street next to a row of parked cars. All of the sudden, a driver's side door swings open and smacks you. So, watch out for cars that you have seen park recently.

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