Safety Tips for Bicycling

The bicycle is a human-powered, two-wheeled mechanical machine that has revolutionized transportation and recreation. It is remarkably efficient from a biological standpoint, and it transfers up to 99% of the energy delivered by the rider into forward motion. Many families own a bicycle or multiple bicycles, and children begin riding at an early age with tricycles and training wheels. While a bicycle is an excellent way to get around, it also can be dangerous if not used properly. It is important to follow a few basic safety rules when using a bike, particularly on roads with cars and pedestrians.

Avoid Riding at Night or in Bad Weather

Bicycles have no engine, so they cannot go anywhere without a rider pushing them forward with their feet. It is best to save your bike rides for the daytime and in good weather, as rain, lightning, high winds or fog can make conditions unsafe for both bicycles and motor vehicles.

Stay Visible

Make sure drivers can see you by wearing brightly colored clothing, using lights at night and making hand signals to indicate turns or slowing. Wearing a helmet is also important to protect yourself in case of a crash.

Never Ride on Wet Roads

Even a slight amount of water can cause the ground to slip and lose traction, making it very hard for cyclists to keep control of their bikes. This can lead to a crash, or in severe cases, injury or death.

Always Use the Sidewalk

Cyclists must use the sidewalk if there is one available, but it is very important to check for obstacles before entering the street from a curb or driveway. These may include cracks, wet leaves, storm grates or railroad tracks. The sidewalk can also be uneven or have patches of ice, so riders should ride with their wheels off the edge of the sidewalk.

Use the Handlebars

Keep both hands on the handlebars at all times while riding. This allows you to maintain control of the bike and respond quickly to changing traffic situations or unexpected hazards. It is also safer to ride this way because it reduces the risk of being struck by a car or other moving object.

Don’t Be Distracted

While riding, do not use a mobile phone or other device that could distract you from paying attention to the road or other riders. This is a common cause of bike accidents. It is also very dangerous to ride while under the influence of alcohol.

The bicycle has numerous parts that must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Some of these items can be done by the cyclist, while others require special tools or manufacturer-dependent maintenance. Regular maintenance can help prolong the life of a bicycle, so it is worth the time and effort. Some parts of a bicycle can be easily replaced, but it is wise to consult a professional before doing so. These professionals can be found in most cycling shops, and they are very familiar with the different components and how to repair them.

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-R)

Since 1975, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) have provided continuous imagery and data on atmospheric conditions, solar activity and space weather that have led to better and more accurate weather forecasts and have helped in search and rescue missions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) builds, launches and operates the GOES series.

The GOES-R series provides advanced imaging of Earth’s western half and real-time mapping of lightning strikes, as well as improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather. The GOES-R satellites orbit 22,236 miles above Earth’s equator, staying over a specific geographic region for long periods of time to provide continuous coverage.

GOES-R satellites have two main payload instruments, the Imager and the Sounder. The Imager and Sounder are flexible-scan imaging systems that collect information about the atmosphere, including cloud cover, wind speed, temperature, moisture and ozone. The Imager has three times more spectral channels and five times more scanning resolution than previous GOES satellites, and the Sounder is able to detect small particles of water vapor in the atmosphere. The Imager also includes a solar X-ray sensor to detect sunspots and other sun activity that can disrupt communications, cause aurorae or affect the navigation systems of satellites, high altitude aircraft and power grids on Earth.

In addition to the Imager and Sounder, GOES-R satellites carry the Solar Environmental Monitor (SEM) instrument package operated by NOAA/Space Environment Center (SEC). The SEM instrument suite measures the effect of the Sun on the near-Earth solar-terrestrial electromagnetic environment, providing NOAA/SEC with real-time data. The GOES-R series also includes the new GOES-16 SUVI, which will provide the same level of high-resolution RGB images as previous GOES satellites but with three times the number of spectral bands and five times more scanning capability.

The GOES-R satellites and their sensors were developed by NOAA, NASA and many industry partners in the United States, Canada and Japan. The development, design and procurement of GOES satellites are overseen by NOAA’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. GOES data is available to anyone through NOAA’s NEXRAD and SATVIEW web portals, as well as from the GEONETCast Americas and GEONETCast Global websites. In addition, GOES-R image data can be downloaded from the OCC Environmental Data Commons.