Thursday, November 12, 2009

30 Safety Rules for Bicyclists

I probably should be writing this in the spring when people are more likely to be riding their bicycles. However, there seems to be more and more people riding bikes at all times of the year and some of them are living life dangerously.

Monday, I was driving home from the grocery store and I saw a woman on a bicycle. At first I thought it was one of my neighbors, but soon realized it was a stranger. I then noticed she was all over the road. As I got closer, I saw the problem. She was talking on a cell phone.

At first I laughed, then realized what a problem this could be. I actually couldn't believe that she would continue riding when all she had to do was pull over to the curb to continue her conversation.

This is just one case of dangerous activities I've witnessed by people on bicycles. Usually it's kids riding all over the road, not paying attention. Sometimes its groups of kids riding side by side. Occasionally, it's someone riding at night without lights or even reflectors.

So here are some suggestions for riding bicycles safely. Some are laws, but laws can vary city by city, so you should learn the ones for your area.

1. Wear a helmet.

2. Travel in the same direction as other traffic.

3. Ride on the right side of the road (be careful of the curb).

4. Signal your turns. Left arm straight out for a left turn. Left arm bent and up for a right turn. Left arm bent and down for a stop.

5. Keep your eyes on the road to be aware of hazards in the road such as gravel, sewer grates, manhole covers, potholes, and cracks in the pavement.

6. Keep a safe distance from parked vehicles (they could pull out or open a door).

7. Obey all traffic signs.

8. Ride in single file.

9. Do not ride on sidewalks.

10. When making left turns, use the left turn lane if one is available. If possible, use breaks in the traffic to make difficult maneuvers.

11. Keep your bicycle maintained.

12. Use a white headlamp and a red rear reflector. Extra blinking lights can help you be better seen by other motorists.

13. Use a rack for carrying items.

14. It's a good idea to carry a basic tool kit.

15. Wear bright colors during the day and light colored clothing at night. Reflective clothing helps.

16. Cross railroad tracks at a right angle.

17. Do not wear headphones on both ears.

18. A rear view mirror is an excellent idea.

19. Be extremely cautious when riding through intersections. Sometimes it might be best to cross intersections as a pedestrian and walk your bike across.

20. Keep your hands on the handlebars, except when signaling.

21. Yield to pedestrians. They have the right of way.

22. The closer you are to the speed of traffic, the further you can ride out in the road.

23. Always ride one to a bike.

24. Stop for school buses (the same as other traffic).

25. Be careful of wet roadways; they can be slippery (this includes roads that may be damp from dew in the morning).

26. Your bicycle should have a warning device such as a bell or horn.

27. It is recommended that children under 10 years of age ride off the road.

28. It is recommended that children never ride at or after dusk.

29. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Clothes should be comfortable and not so loose as to get caught in gears. Shoes should not be slippery.

30. Avoid standing on the pedals. You could crash if the chain would skip.


  1. Thanks for this great reminders!
    I'm back to biking three weeks ago and now I need to buy a headlamp and rear blinking light because I love biking at dusk.


    btw, i followed you from Retweet group.

  2. Eric: We have so many riding bicycles in my neighborhood lately, I'm afraid there's going to be an accident. And young kids just don't seem to have any sense somedays. Hopefully the reminders will help someone. Thanks for following.

  3. Perhaps you should post some safety tipds for motorists too...

  4. I think everyone, even drivers, should learn rule number 4. What good is cyclist signal if people don't know what it means.

    P.S. I always got right and stop confused.

  5. I think there was a study done that cars slow down and move farther away from bikers who ride without a helmet than with bikers who do wear a helmet. I read this in the book, Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt. It's worth a read.

    Ofcourse I don't advocate not wearing a helmet. By the psychology of a driver is a very interesting thing. The book is a good read on that subject.


  6. To Tamahome Jenkins: I always got them confused too.

  7. To Anonymous: That's a good idea. Thanks.

  8. To Christopher Ming Ryan: That sounds like a good book. Thanks. I'll have to see if the local library has it. The way some people drive, I wonder if we can ever really understand their psychology.