Montana in the summer brings out the biker in all of us. There is hardly a better way to take in the gorgeous landscape than perched atop a bicycle on the back roads of this beautiful state. As you and your family prepare for your outdoor adventure, the Montana Department of Transportation has some tips for staying safe.
Awareness is one of the most pressing needs for bikers. The MDT says using rearview mirrors can be helpful in keeping you aware of oncoming traffic, but if you do not have those, make a habit of quickly scanning around you from time to time. Look over your shoulder, too, just to be sure you know when vehicles, other cyclists or pedestrians are close.
The MDT also says to ride with traffic, the same way you do when you are driving a car. “Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.”
Wearing safety gear is another “must” from the MDT, which recommends a helmet as a first line of defense in a bike crash. Even if the incident is minor, it is easy to hit your head on the cement of the highway or on a tree if you are on a trail. Even small bumps to the head can traumatize the brain, so you want to do everything in your power to protect it.
Keeping headphones out of sight while you are on the road is another tip. You want to hear oncoming traffic or other distractions, and headphones would prevent your ability to do that.
Finally, wear layers of clothing so weather changes will not catch you by surprise. Being prepared for rain can keep you dry if a sudden storm approaches. Also, be sure those layers are brightly colored so others on the road will not have any trouble seeing you.