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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.
- 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.
While each state has its own rules and regulations, most areas require cyclists to sport the following safety equipment:
- 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.
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.
- Ride in a straight line.
- 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.
- 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)