Safety Tips, Use of the Roadway and
Etiquette for Sharing the Road

bicycle Safety & Etiquette

Bicycling Safety Tips

Icon - Never ride against traffic

Ride in the same direction as automobile traffic.

By law you must ride in the same direction as automobile traffic. It's EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to ride against traffic as motorists, especially at intersections, are not looking for bicyclists riding the WRONG way.

Icon - Obey all traffic signs & signals

Obey all traffic signs and signals.

Stop at all stop signs and signals as required by law.

Icon - Use hand signals

Use hand signals.

Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy and self protection.

Icon - Follow lane markings

Follow lane markings; they are for bikes too!

Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a right-turn-only lane.

Icon - Don't weave between parked carsDon't weave between parked cars.

Don't ride to the curb between parked cars unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you try to move back into traffic.

Icon - Don't pass on the right

Don't pass on the right.

Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.

Icon - Choose the best way to turn leftChoose the best way to turn left.

There are two ways to make a left turn by bike: Like an auto; signal, move into the left lane and turn left, or like a pedestrian; ride straight to the far side of the intersection and then cross with the next signal.

Icon - Avoid road hazards

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.

Icon - Keep both hands ready to brake

Keep both hands ready to brake.

You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Never use the front wheel brake by itself. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet. Be careful of slippery roadway markings.

Icon - Watch for chasing dogs

Watch for chasing dogs.

Ignore them, or try a firm, loud "NO". If the dog doesn't stop, dismount with your bike between you and the dog or squirt the dog with your water bottle. Dogs are attracted by the spinning of the wheels and feet.

Icon - Ride a well equipped bike

Ride a well-equipped bike.

Be sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly. For safety, outfit it with bells, rearview mirrors, fenders, and racks. Use a strong headlight and taillight at night as required by law.

Icon - Get in shapeGet in shape.

Begin with short trips. Errands are a great way to begin, working up to longer rides. This will ease muscles into shape. Before starting on a longer trip, spend a few minutes stretching your legs and body.

Icon - Dress apropriately

Dress appropriately.

Wear a helmet whenever you ride. Wear light-colored clothes at night. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to temperature changes on longer rides.

Icon - Keep your bike in good repair

Keep your bike in good repair.

Maintain your bike in good working condition. Check brakes regularly and keep tires properly inflated to avoid flats. 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.

Icon - Lock your bike when you're goneLock your bike when you're gone.

A U-shaped high security lock is best. Lock the frame and rear wheel to a fixed object. If you have quick release wheels, also lock the front wheel. Consider using a cable in addition to a U-lock.

Bicyclist Etiquette: How to Ride with Cars

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.

Motorist Etiquette: How to drive with Bikes

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. Leave 3 feet of space as a buffer; 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.