Safety GearSafety Gear

Gearing Up: Stuff to make your ride easier and safer

Top priority: Helmets. Once you have a helmet, you can start thinking about other items that can help you get around more safely.

Lights
This is simple: lights help you see and be seen at night. Try and get lights for both the front and rear of your bike. Blinking LED lights are great choices for rear lights since they can be seen from far away and don't use much battery power. LEDs aren't powerful enough to help you see the road, however, so consider a more powerful halogen light for a front light.

Oh, and bike lights are required for night riding under Minnesota law. You might want one.

Reflectors

All new bikes must be sold with reflectors on pedals and the front and rear wheels. Your bike should already have them, but check to see that they are still in place and are not damaged.

Reflective gear

Reflective gear helps motorists see you. Light-colored clothing is helpful, but you can also purchase specially-made reflective material that is visible 24/7. Some common reflective items include vests, ankle bands, and helmet tape.

Gloves

Bicycling gloves can help protect your hand from cuts and scrapes if you fall off your bike. The gloves are usually padded to make your ride more comfortable, and they come in fingerless for summer riding or full-fingered for colder weather. Good gloves also protect your fingers as you check your tires for glass or other debris.

Rear view mirror

A mirror mounted on your handlebars or your helmet can help you keep track of what's happening behind you. Don't be stupid, though. A mirror can't substitute for looking behind you when you're changing lanes or turning.