General Safety Information

Cyclists and pedestrians hold the same rights on the road as drivers. Here are a few timps to help you share the road:

Rules of the road:

  • Bike on the road in the same direction as traffic (only bikers under age 12 are legally allowed to ride on sidewalks). Even though they lack a motor, bicycles are considered road vehicles just like cars and trucks.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs, and obey other traffic signs (i.e. one-way street, yield, etc.), just like you would in a car.
  • Use marked bike paths or lanes when they’re available.
  • Signal well and make eye contact with drivers before making a turn or slowing down. All biking signals are done with the left arm, so keep the right hand on the handlebars for stability. If you’re not confident about your signaling skills, spend some time practicing turns in a quiet area where there is little traffic before hitting the busier roads (or nab a set of these sweet signal light armbands).
    • To turn left, extend the left arm straight out from your side, parallel to the ground.
    • To turn right, extend the left arm out straight from the shoulder with the elbow bent and the left hand pointing straight up. The arm should form an “L” shape.
    • To slow down, extend the left arm out straight from the shoulder with the elbow bent and the left hand pointing straight down. It’s the opposite of the right-hand turn.

Safety Gear

While each state has its own rules and regulations, most areas require cyclists to sport the following safety equipment:

  • Helmet
  • Bell or horn
  • White headlight and red taillight when riding around sunrise, sunset, or at night
  • Working brakes
  • Reflectors on the front and back of the bicycle.

Cycling Etiquette

To make every cycling experience positive (and safe), follow safe biking practices. Most of these habits are geared towards keeping the cyclist visible to drivers and pedestrians in order to prevent accidents.

  • Put down the phone. We shouldn't even need to say this, but talking on the phone, texting, or checking social media while biking are major no-nos. Also rephrain from listening to headphones because they can make it more difficult to hear approaching cars and pedestrians.
  • Ride in a straight line. This one’s self-explanatory, but riding in a predictable fashion makes it easier for cars to go around (and not into) you.
  • Stay on the right side of the lane, in a single-file line with other cyclists (not two or three abreast). If the street is too narrow for cars to pass, cyclists are allowed to ride in the middle of the lane to increase visibility. Keep an eye out for parked cars (or rather, doors from parked cars opening into the street). Avoid the dreaded door-into-cyclist snafu by staying a little bit closer to the center of the street if there are parked cars. Also, move towards the left side of the lane when turning left.
  • Stay out of drivers' blind spots, especially at traffic lights or stop signs.
  • Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Do not drink alcohol and cycle.
  • Stay visible. Wear bright colors for daytime riding and reflective materials for night.
  • Consider sporting a mirror to keep track of cars behind you.
  • Travel with a mini tool kit. If your trek is more than 10 minutes or down a lonely stretch of road, you’ll thank us. Take the time to learn how to do a few quick repairs in advance of any big rides so you don’t get stranded!
  • Check local municipal and state traffic laws before hitting the road. Major cities and certain states have different regulations, so study up before rolling out.
  • List your Emergency Contacts with 'ICE' (In Case of Emergency)

Additional Resources

https://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/safetyeducation/

https://greatist.com/fitness/bicycle-safety-101

http://www.bikeleague.org/content/smart-cycling-tips-0