THE BICYCLE REPRESENTS AN ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY AND CHEAP METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION,
AND IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH.
CYCLING MEANS ZERO STRESS! YOU CAN AVOID TRAFFIC JAMS, ENJOY THE OUTDOORS,
SAVE TIME (AND MONEY) AND YOUR MOOD IMPROVES!
In order to move around on a bike in total safety, for us and for the people around us, it is important to comply with basic common sense and mutual respect rules.
- Always (with no exceptions!!) travel on the right hand side of the road;
- Always proceed in single file, unless you are riding with a child younger than 10 years of age, who should always ride to your right; in any case, it is a good rule to avoid riding side by side, even outside towns or settlements;
- Your arms and hands should be free to hold the handlebar;
- Avoid sudden manoeuvres or changing direction all of a sudden: you become less predictable by doing o, consequently increasing the risk of being run down!!
- Always use your arm to signal that you are about to turn left or right.
- Do not use your bike to carry other people. The only exception to this is children up to 8 years of age and with the use of special children seats and footrests;
- Use the special cycling lanes. In addition to being mandatory, it is also preferable since cyclists are protected against motor vehicles. When no cycling lanes are available, ride as much as possible near the right edge of the road;
- You can use your bicycle to carry objects only if they are firmly secured to the bike and do not stick out by more than 50 centimetres in the front, rear and side with respect to the bicycle footprint;
- Avoid towing other bicycles or animals (or be towed by the latter).
- Never allow yourself to be towed by motorcycles or other vehicles while riding your bike;
- Get off your bike when using pedestrian crossings;
- In case of queues at traffic lights, with cars already queued up, pass the stopped vehicle on their right;
- Proceed carefully and pay special attention to the sudden opening of doors or quick turns to the right by the drivers of the cars in the queue.
- Don’t let yourself get distracted by anything, do not use ear sets and refrain from talking on the cell phone while you’re biking.
- Remember that road signs, stop signs, yield signs and one-way signs also apply to bicycles.
- When travelling on a crowded route with a mix of pedestrians and cyclists, get of your bike and walk until you are past the crowd.
- Do not ride on sidewalk.
- Always use bike racks; if these are not available, make sure that your parked bike is not an obstacle for pedestrians or differently-abled individuals.
- Use the bell in case of need and danger only
If you fail to comply with these simple rules, you expose yourself to greater danger, in addition to the possibility of being fined as established by Traffic Regulations.
LET CAUTION BECOME YOUR CONSTANT TRAVEL COMPANION
The Traffic Regulations define the bicycle as a “velocipede”. Consequently, the bicycle is an actual vehicle subject to the same rules as the other vehicles circulating on the road.
As such, it is required that bicycles be fitted with the following equipment:
- Independent braking devices on each tyre
- During times or under conditions of poor visibility:
- Front lamp with white or yellow light
- Rear red lamp
- Rear red reflector
- Yellow reflectors on pedals and on the sides
You may be fined even for not having just one of the mandatory devices listed above
Biking at night.
Tips for safe biking during the winter’s dark hours.
- Wear light-colour or fluorescent clothes, or a high-visibility vest.
- When it is dark outside, wear reflecting accessories, such as belts, or wrist/ankle belts.
- Fit your bicycle with a lighting system consisting of a rear red light (screwed to the seat tube) and a small lamp on the front (on the handlebar).
- Be aware of the fact that riding your bike without the special safety devices does not only mean risking your own safety but also that of others travelling on the same road and who perhaps jeopardise their own life in order to avoid hitting you.
Cycling in the wintertime.
Here are some tips and advice to keep on cycling even during the coldest season.
- The bike equipment must be slightly changed, especially with temperatures below 0^°C. For example, the tyres can be changed, choosing a wider tread, or switching from the city bike to a mountain bike. Then the gears need to be oiled more frequently (something that only a few people actually do), and if we add to this appropriate clothing, such as gloves, scarf, hat and heavy jacket, you can easily cycle on snowy ground as well.
- However, you need to avoid getting overheated. In fact, it is not advisable to pedal at a fast speed, perhaps on an uphill stretch, and sweating, as the first draught of cold air will make you sick. If you find yourselves sweating or hot, it is better to slow down a bit, as your body temperature has to be kept stable. If you’re cold, pedal faster; vice versa, slow down if you’re feeling hot.
- The only situation in which it is better to avoid using the bike is on icy road. Fortunately, in Italy this situation is quite rare, since salt trucks are quick to intervene in case of snow, so that the ice melts fast . If, however, you decide to ride your bike anyway, look for points where the tyres are in contact with the asphalt and, when encountering downhill tracts, get off your bike and walk it down carefully. In fact, in this case the icy road can cause you to lose control of your bike and to end up getting hurt. There are less problems biking on a snowing road, provided you follow the tracks left by the other bikes which, in a sense trace a “road” that is easier to travel.
- Be careful. This rule applies at all time, but even more during the winter when the roads are icy. Ride at a slow speed if the asphalt is slippery or try to stay where the road allows a better grip with the tires. Also try to travel together with other cyclists. The more there are of you, the more visible you will be, thus reducing the risk of accidents.