But as with any other vehicle, there are certain situations in which cycling can be dangerous.
Selecting your Bike
Your bike should fit your size and the type
of riding you plan to do. If you are unsure
whether you are riding the right bike
Bicycle safety is about more than just how you ride;
it's also about what you take with you. The better
equipped you are, the better protected and
comfortable you will be while riding.
- Protect your head. A helmet can mean the difference between life and death. In many states, helmets are mandatory. Never ride your bike without one. Enough said.
- Be seen. There's no such thing as being too visible. Wear light-colored clothing to help drivers see you. Avoid riding at night. If you do find yourself on the road after dark, make sure you have a strong headlight, a tail light and a rear reflector. Children should never ride after dark.
- Be heard. Don't be shy about making some noise. Warning devices such as horns and bells help alert other vehicles and pedestrians to your approach.
Planning your Route
The most direct route isn't always the best. Look for bike lanes and paths.
If you must ride on the road, choose one with a reasonable speed
limit, little or no traffic, and a wide shoulder. Children
should never ride on the road. If they must ride on the road, make
sure they have an adult with them at all times.
Before you get on your bike, please check to make sure everything is in proper
working order. Check the frame for cracks or dents. Make sure any
quick-release mechanisms on the seat tube or wheel hubs are tightened.
Gauge whether or not tires are properly inflated. Spin the wheels to see if
they are centered and secure. Gently pluck the spokes to make sure they are
tight. Squeeze the brakes and inspect the cables for loose connections.
If everything checks out, you should be ready to hit the road.
A bike is subject to the same rights as a car...and to the same rules.
This creates a safer environment for everyone sharing the
road. As a cyclist, you should always:
- Observe all traffic laws: Obey signs and signals. Yield for pedestrians. Ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Use hand signals: Hold your left arm straight out to signal left. To signal right, hold your left arm out with your elbow bent 90 degrees and your hand pointed up. Change this arm position so your hand points down to signal a stop.
- Stop and look both ways before you cross any type of intersection - even if it's just a driveway. Walk your bike across major intersections.
Cyclists share the road with more than just cars.
Things that can't move present their own set of hazards.
Some examples include:
- Give parked cars a couple feet of clearance and be alert for people opening doors
- Ride gingerly over wet pavement and leave extra space for stopping
- Steer around potholes and sewer grates.
- Always walk your bike across train tracks
It is important to stay hydrated and keep your energy up when riding, so
throw an energy bar into your backpack and take along a water bottle.