How to be safe cycling on the road

Lizzy Briskin

During 2020, biking of all kinds -- road, mountain, and ebikes -- increased by at least 20%

Road cycling safety

Whether you’re a daily bike commuter, a weekend warrior or just picked up your first bike to take for a spin, it’s essential to take safety seriously when cycling. With more and more cyclists on the roads, the quality and availability of safety gear has increased quite a bit, so there’s no excuse not to have the proper equipment to enjoy every ride safely.

This list covers the essential tools, gear and apparel that every cyclist needs to ensure visibility, health and security.

Essential gear for road cycling

These are the must-have pieces of equipment and apparel that every road cyclist needs, regardless of age, experience or comfort on the bike.


Protect your body from any potential harm with these must-have pieces of personal protection.

  • Helmet. In many states, the law requires that bikers wear helmets at all times.  But even if your state doesn’t, protecting your head should be your number one priority on the roads. Make sure your helmet fits snugly, without any wobble or sliding around when you shake your head. This sleek helmet from POC is stylish and comes in a variety of sizes and colors to fit every noggin.
  • Sunglasses. Shield your eyes from damage and avoid solar glare that can cause accidents by always wearing a pair of sunglasses built for bikers. These polarized glasses from Torege are sleek and designed to fit under your helmet for comfortable riding in any weather.
  • Gloves. You may not realize the pressure and vibration on your hands when you are riding until you start wearing gloves. They protect your skin from blisters and discomfort due to bumpy or uneven roads. For warm-weather biking, these fingerless gloves from HTZPLOO come in a variety of colors so you can easily keep track of them.

To keep your fingers warm during colder rides, these Simari winter gloves provide warmth and are designed with dexterity in mind as to not limit your ability to reach your brakes and gear shifters.

  • Water bottles. The best water bottles for cycling are soft, easy-to-squeeze plastic with a cap that lets you take sips without stopping or even slowing down. Camelbak makes colorful insulated bottles that hold up to 24 ounces of water. Get two if you plan to take multi-hour rides. Keep them snug and easily accessible with handy water bottle cages. This set of two from 50 Strong is easy to install and holds most standard-size bottles.


Make yourself as visible and obvious to cars and other bikers as possible with the following equipment.

  • Front and rear lights. Whether you’re out in the early mornings or late at night, stay visible to cars and other bikers with front and rear lights. The best biking lights toggle between different colors and flashing patterns. This bike light from Cycle Torch easily clips onto handlebars for a powerful front-facing light. Alternatively, this set of two lights from Ascher has you covered in the front and back.
  • Reflective apparel. Don’t rely on your lights alone. Double down on visibility by wearing a reflective vest, jacket and/or cycling pants. This is especially important if you’re riding on narrow, windy or heavily trafficked roads. It’s too easy for drivers to miss bikers due to weather, lighting or physical obstructions. This softshell cycling jacket from ARSUXEO is windproof, waterproof and will help you stand out in any weather. On hot days, opt for a minimal mesh vest that you won’t even feel, but will keep you safe. For lower body visibility, these bright bands can be worn on your wrists or ankles.

Bike tools

There’s nothing worse than getting stuck with a flat tire or other mechanical issue in the middle of a ride. Keep these tools on hand and you’ll be able to fix things quickly and continue on your way.

  • Tire pump. Don’t let a flat or low tire leave you stranded on the roads. This mini pump from Vibrelli is lightweight and attaches to your bike frame so you can top up your tires on the go or easily refill a flat.
  • Multi-use bike tool. Most road bike parts require an allen wrench. This compact tool from Wotow is a 16-in-1 multi-function bicycle repair tool that will cover everything from adjusting a seat to removing and replacing a flat tire with tire irons. It’s small enough to store right on your bike.
  • Pouch. Leave the bulky backpack at home and stash your must-have gear, including tools, a spare inner tube and snacks in a pouch. This triangle-shaped bag from BV sits under most bike seats. It’s easy to access on the go and has room for everything you need. If you’re going on a longer ride or need more storage space, a handlebar bag offers more room and has a handy transparent phone case to help you track your progress or follow GPS directions. This bag from OranLife is a high-quality and versatile handlebar bike bag.
  • Spare inner tubes. When a patch doesn’t cut it, you can’t fix a bad flat without a backup inner tube. Stash one or two in your bike pouch and with your tool kit, you’ll have everything you need to get back up and riding in no time. Continental makes high-quality inner tubes that are easy to install and light to carry. Check the proper size for your tires before buying.

Lizzy Briskin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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