I think that safety = focus. Focusing on your bike – making sure it’s in top shape. Make sure tires are fully inflated so you have a stable ride. Focusing on your chain so it doesn’t snap on you. Focusing on your gears for smooth shifting. Focusing on lubing. Focusing on breaks so you stop. This could be a long list.
It’s just as important to focus while you ride. Be really aware of where you are and what’s going on in the road. Don’t distract yourself! Looking back, I can see that I did that. I’d ride with a book tape or music on and that put a lot of my head somewhere other than on the road. I also really liked to pay attention to my odometer/speedometer. So of course I didn’t always put the thought into my riding that I should have. I wasn’t getting everything I could out of my riding. My plan going forward is to stop this. I’ll ride with empty ears. I’m either going to pull my odometer/speedometer or put it someplace I can’t see it while I’m riding (it’s still good to know mileage for maintenance). Generally planning to start treating riding as a mindfulness exercise. I think I’ll be safer and actually enjoy it more.
I’ll mention that during my rehab I’ve developed the meditation habit and I think that helps with this. For me meditation took a while to really get into, but now I’m finding that it adds a lot to my life and makes it easier for me to really focus when I need to. No way I think you have to be a meditator to be a safe cyclist, but I think it makes it easier to sit on the bike and just ride without paying attention to anything else.