Many Florida residents enjoy taking advantage of the year-long, bike-friendly weather. Whether you use your bike to commute to work or you simply like to go on family bike rides, it’s a great form of exercise and environmentally friendly travel.

As beneficial as bike riding can be, however, it can also be dangerous, especially when you’re navigating busier roads, intersections and streets. While drivers should do their due diligence to watch out for cyclists, there are steps that bike riders can take to ensure a safe journey.

1. Put away the headphones

Listening to music or a podcast while cycling can make your ride more entertaining. However, the reward might not be worth the risk. Wearing headphones while riding your bike can be a significant distraction for you.

An intriguing podcast or your favorite song can easily pull your attention away from the road in front of you. Not only that, but headphones also take away your ability to listen to your surroundings. You may not be able to hear a car coming up behind you or a horn alerting you of its presence.

2. Wear the proper gear

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t think they need a helmet, especially if they’re just going out for a quick ride. However, helmets and other protective bike gear can mean the difference between a minor injury and a life-changing incident.

In addition to helmets, you can keep yourself safer and free from injury by wearing close-toed or secure footwear and bright colors. Also, reflective gear is crucial, especially if you’re biking at night.

3. Familiarize yourself with bike laws

If you’re not sure where you can bike or how to share the road with other motor vehicles, it can make your bike ride all the more dangerous. Florida considers bicycles an on-road vehicle, which means you have to comply with the rules of the road.

However, there are also bike-specific rules that cyclists must follow in order to navigate safely around other vehicles. For instance, if bike lanes are available, cyclists must use them, with only a few exceptions to this rule.

Protect yourself while biking

Following these safety tips can help you keep yourself safe on a bike ride. Unfortunately, sometimes even the safest cyclists can get into a serious accident caused by an inattentive or negligent driver.

If you or a loved one sustained injuries from an incident such as this, know that there are options available to you that can help you pay for any damages you may have sustained.