Safety Tips, Use of the Roadway and
Etiquette for Sharing the Road
Obey all traffic signs & signals. Bicyclists must drive like other vehicles if they are to be taken seriously by motorists.
Never ride against traffic. Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. Ride with traffic to avoid potential accidents.
Use hand signals. Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy and of self protection.
Don't weave between parked cars. Don't ride into the curb between parked cars unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you try to move back into traffic.
Follow lane markings. Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked right-turn only.
Choose the best way to turn left. There are two ways to make a left turn: 1) Like an auto. Signal, move into the left lane and turn left. 2) Like a pedestrian. Ride straight to the far-side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
Don't pass on the right. Motorists may not look for, or see, a bicycle passing on the right.
Avoid road hazards. Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, potholes, and gravel. Cross railroad tracks carefully at right angles. For better control as you move across bumps and other hazards, stand up on your pedals.
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 brakes are less efficient when wet.
Watch for chasing dogs. Ignore them, try a firm, loud "NO" or try squirting them with your water bottle. If the dog doesn't stop, dismount with your bike between you and the dog. Dogs are attracted by the spinning of the wheels and feet.
Get in shape. Begin with short trips, working up to longer rides. This will ease muscles into shape and allow you to become more comfortable handling a bike in traffic. Before starting on a longer trip, spend a few minutes stretching your legs and body.
Ride a well equipped bike. Be sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly. For saftey and efficiency, outfit it with bells, rearview mirrors, fenders (for rainy rides), and racks, baskets or bike bags. Always use a strong headlight and taillight at night as required by law.
Dress apropriately. Wear a hard-shell helmet whenever you ride. Wear light colored clothes at night. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to temperature changes on longer rides. For longer rides a change of clothes, loosely rolled up, can be carried with you or you can store clothes at the office.
Lock your bike when you're gone. Buy the best lock you can afford, none is as expensive as a new bike. A U-shaped high security lock is best. Lock the frame and rear wheel to a fixed object. If you have a quick release, you should also lock the front wheel.
Keep your bike in good repair. Maintain your bike in good working condition. Check brakes regularly and keep tires properly inflated. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself. Or you can leave it to an expert at a local bike shop.
Bicyclists on public roadways assume all the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers, and are subject to the same state laws and local ordinances. For everyone's safety observe these bicycling rules:
- Ride with traffic.
- Stop at all stop signs and red lights.
- Use lights and reflectors at night.
- Ride as near to the right as safely possible.
- Use hand signals to indicate your intention to drivers.
- Follow lane and highway markings. As if you were a vehicle, ride single file.
- Don't block the road by riding two bikes abreast.
- Honor others' right of way.
- Be predictable; ride in a straight line even with parked cars.
- Children under 18 must wear a helmet.
- Value your life: Wear a helmet!
- Make eye contact with motorists to make sure they see you.
Sharing the road with other vehicles: bicycles
- Drivers of motor vehicles must treat bicycle riders the same as drivers of other motor vehicles.
- Be aware bicyclists have legal access to the roadway and must obey stop signs, traffic lights, and most other traffic laws and signs.
- Special care must be used near bicyclists because any accident with them will probably result in serious injury.
- Automobile drivers must leave safe passing room, if you are not sure you have enough room to pass, don't.
- Be Patient.
- When turning, you MUST not turn so close to them that the bicyclist is in danger of being hit.
- Bicyclists can legally move to the left lane to turn left, to pass another vehicle or bicycle, or to avoid debris or parked cars.
- Bicyclists may have to swerve to avoid a car door suddenly opening, glass, storm grates, dogs and other hazards on the road.
- Expect any of these moves by bicyclists in a main traffic lane.
- When the lane is too narrow to pass a bicyclist safely, wait until the next lane is clear and give the bicyclist all the rights of any other slow moving vehicle.
- A motorist parked at a curb must not open a door on the traffic side of a vehicle without looking for other vehicles, including bicycles or motorcycles.
- Bicycle riders may give right turn signals with their right arm held straight out or pointing right. Remember, bicycles are small and sometimes drivers do not see them.
- Don't honk at bicyclists. Loud noise may startle the bicyclist and cause them to move into the lane of traffic.