How to Ride Your Bicycle Safely on Our Roads

There are safety rules and laws that control drivers of motor vehicles and bicyclists on our roads. For bicyclists visibility to other road users is a challenge. A bicyclist is not protected as well as a motorist. So here’s what bicyclists will need to do to feel safe and confident while riding on our roads.

Attire

The simplest thing you can do is to wear bright colored clothing and a helmet. Night bicycle riders should wear reflective clothing or apply reflective tape to the bicycle or their clothing.

Equipment

Riding a bicycle in the early morning and late evening will require a need for a white front head lamp and a red reflector light on the rear of the bike. If you ride on roads where the speed limit is at least forty miles per hour, you should add at least one blinking red tail light to the rear of your bike and brakes.

Always take your cell phone, pump, a short rain coat and your GPS with you while riding your bicycle. You never know when these will become handy.

Park, Secure, Register

Don’t block sidewalks, handicap accesses, or even emergency driveways. Lock your bike to a sturdy stationary object. You can register the serial numbers on your bike with your local police department. Stolen bicycles are usually matched with registered bicycles.

Do Not

Do not carry articles in hands while riding your bike. Do not carry more people on your bike than it is designed for. Do not wear earphones while riding on the roads. Do not ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Do not ride on the interstate.

Must

Bicyclists have to obey traffic signs, signals, and lights just like motorists and pedestrians do.

Ride with the flow of traffic on the right side edge of the highway. On a one way street, you may ride on either the left or right sides of the street with flow of traffic.

Stop at all intersections. Always be mindful of potential actions of other road users. Ride defensively as if your life depends on it. It does.

Pass motor vehicles with extreme caution and be very careful when you see drivers make their turns. They may not see you because of blind spots.

Walk your bicycle on sidewalks when the traffic becomes overwhelming for you. While riding be aware of bus traffic pulling to and from curbs to let passengers off and on.

Always look both ways before crossing a street. Use proper hand signals before turning right, left, or stopping. Right arm stretch out for right turn; left arm stretch out for left turn and left arm down to side of body for stopping.

Having learned to ride a bicycle is a big accomplishment for any child. Here are suggestions for parents on how to make bicycle rides safe and enjoyable experiences for their children. Teach them how to wear the helmet correctly on every ride.

Supervise and never allow them to ride their bicycle in the street. However, to decide whether to allow your older children to ride in the streets will depend on age and maturation, traffic patterns and congestion of your streets, and the child’s adequate knowledge and ability to follow the safety rules of the road.

Children are never to ride at night. Tell them to come home while it is daylight. Deny bike privileges if your safety rules are not obeyed. Teach your children how to take care of their bicycles. Check monthly the tires, brakes, and seat and handlebar heights.

These rules are what I know that will make bicycle riding safe. For more information on bicycle safety riding in your state, go online to the Division of Motor Vehicles. With practice while building confidence in yourself, riding the streets will be comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.