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Remember to practice safety first when bicycling this spring

Posted at 10:54 AM, Apr 03, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Warmer weather means more cyclists will be out on the trails and roads.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, in 2016, nearly 850 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes across the county. Indianapolis has improved its bike friendliness in recent years, but there are some additional precautions riders can take to stay safe.

Dave Dillingham, a bike technician at Bicycle Garage Indy, has performed deluxe tune-ups on bikes in recent days. It's a crucial step for a cyclist who wants a safe and dependable ride.

"We clean the bike thoroughly," Dillingham said. "We true both the wheels. We adjust the wheel hubs."

Around 150 bikes are waiting at Bicycle Garage Indy for a spring check-up.

"This will definitely get their bike 100 percent ready for the season," Dillingham said.

And it will make it safer for the rider when they hit the road.

"The braking is going to be better is the main thing," Dillingham said. "It does make a big difference in terms of safety just how well put together the bike is and how well adjusted it is."

Once it's adjusted, there are some add-ons the pros recommend. First, a helmet.

"You want to be able to protect your head," Connie Szabo Schmucker, advocacy director for Bicycle Garage Indy, said.

Some new helmets have wave cell technology and are designed to better protect against concussions and traumatic brain injury.

"It's a liner that's inside the helmet that helps collapse it, as well, and helps protect your brain," Szabo Schmucker said.

Daytime running lights and reflected clothing are other recommended safety precautions.

"When you are talking about wanting motorists to give you plenty of space when they're passing you, they need to see you in time to be able to do that," Szabo Schmucker said.

Bicycle Garage Indy has also partnered this year with Bike Indianapolis to offer classes for drivers where they can learn more about avoiding cyclists on the roads and how to keep an eye out for riders. It is currently open for people who drive for a living, like fleet drivers and bus drivers, but it will eventually be available to the public.