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Safety tips for your bicycle commute

As often as you can, you ride your bike to work. You got into your technology career because you believe the future lies in innovation, and that means moving away from transportation options that create pollution, energy dependency and catastrophic loss of life. Instead, you invested in a cutting-edge electric bicycle that gives you everything you're looking for.

Here's the problem: Most people haven't made that change. On your commute, you still have to share the road with thousands of drivers in their cars, trucks and SUVs. Not only are you conscious of the noise and the pollution, but you feel well aware of the risks you face. On the e-bike, you're very exposed. If one of those drivers makes just one mistake at the wrong time, it could be you who ends up taking an expensive ambulance ride to the hospital.

So what should you do? Here are some cycling safety tips that can help:

1. Make eye contact with drivers if you have to cross in front of them

For instance, say you're riding down the street when a driver pulls out of their garage and stops at the street to turn left. They're going to cross in front of you. Yes, you have the right of way and they're supposed to wait for other traffic -- you -- to go through, but that doesn't mean they see you. They may just be looking for other cars. Try to make eye contact before you go through so that you know they're not going to cut out in front.

2. Use a light, regardless of the time of day

If your job requires you to ride after sunset or before the sun comes up in the morning, you, obviously, want to have a light on the bike. You're best off to have a flashing red light on the back and a bright white light on the front that you can switch between steady and flashing modes. However, remember that a flashing light can also help during the day. It still makes you more visible and reduces the odds of a crash.

3. Wear the right gear

This starts with a highly-rated helmet; it doesn't prevent a crash, but it helps tremendously if you get into one. You also want to wear bright clothes, and you're best off to pick items with reflective material. Do not ride in black clothes or your work clothes. If you don't want to change, get a bright orange or lime green jacket that you can wear over your normal shirt.

After a crash

These tips go a long way toward keeping you safe, but you could still get hit and suffer serious, life-changing injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries. Make sure you are well aware of your legal rights.

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