Bicycle Safety

Here are some sensible bike safety rules to follow:
  • Obey traffic signs and signals – Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.
  • Never ride against traffic – Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road.  
  • Follow lane markings – Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
  • Don’t pass on the right – Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
  • Scan the road behind you – Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake – You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since breaks are less efficient when wet.
  • Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones – Always wear a helmet.(Make sure your CPSC-approved bike helmet fits properly. It should not wobble or flop around on your head with your chinstrap buckled. Even with the best helmet, you could become unconscious in a crash. Carry ID, any important medical information, emergency contacts, and your insurance information.) Cell phones can be handy in an emergency. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.
  • Dress for the weather – In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.
  • Use hand signals – Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic – Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
  • Choose the best way to turn left – There are two choices: (1) Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
  • Make eye contact with drivers – Assume that other drivers don’t see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
  • Look out for road hazards – Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
  • Use lights at night – The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).
  • Keep your bike in good repair – Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.