Anytime you’re sharing the road with cars, you need to know what you’re doing. While most drivers will give plenty of space to bicyclists, some drivers simply don’t care if they get a little too close to you. That’s why it’s up to you to be as cautious as possible and follow the rules of the road.
Follow these steps to stay safe on the road.
|helmet + reflective clothing = win|
- Helmet. Always wear a helmet while biking. Crashing your bike or getting hit by a car can cause serious damage.
- Reflectors. Attach reflectors to your bike, so you’re easy to spot. Get a reflective jacket to wear while you’re biking or just put reflective tape on a jacket you already own.
- Light. Use a bike light when it’s dark out or raining. You should have one for the front of your bike and a red light for the back. In some states, it’s illegal to bike at night without lights.
Follow the Traffic Laws:
- Bike with traffic, not against it.
- Always stop at stop signs and red lights.
- Let pedestrians cross when it’s their turn.
- If there is a bike lane or a wide shoulder, stick to the right side of the road.
- Use hand signals to let the cars behind you know when you’re switching lanes or turning left.
- Don’t try to avoid red lights by jumping on the side walk to cross over then veering back onto the road. It might confuse drivers or take them off guard when you reemerge onto the road.
- Avoid biking on the sidewalk. It will be safer for pedestrians if you use the road. In some states, it’s illegal to bike on the sidewalk.
- Check your state's bicycle laws before you hit the road.
|use a bike light after dark!|
- Ride predictably. Stay in a straight line while biking, unless you’re switching lanes or turning. Don’t weave in and out between cars. Don’t catch drivers off guard.
- If there’s a line of parked cars on the street, give them a few feet of room. If someone opens their door unexpectedly, you might accidently bike into it.
- Make eye contact with the driver beside you. It helps you to establish your place on the road, and the driver will feel more compelled to give you space.
- Don’t listen to your headphones while biking. You want to be able to hear what’s going on around you.
- Keep your bike maintenance tools with you when you go on long rides. If you get a flat when you’re ten miles from home, you will need to be able to repair it. Move off of the shoulder of the road to do repairs.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. It’s hard to maintain focus when you’re shivering from the cold or getting rained on.
- Keep your bike in tip-top shape. At home, use a bike storage rack to keep your bike stored out of harm's way.