Bike Safety

It’s important to know traffic laws before you get on the road. Acting within the law and riding as a part of normal vehicular flow will make your ride safer and more enjoyable.

Find the full vehicle code information as applicable to bicyclists on the Department of Motor Vehicle’s website for your state. Some additional rules may apply within individual city limits, so please become familiar with your particular area’s requirements.

Here are some basic rules and guidelines.

Basics

  • Wear bright-colored clothing at all times and reflective clothing at night. Stay alert, scanning the road and traffic around you.

Riding on the Roadway

  • Ride with the flow of traffic.

Intersections

  • Watch for cars pulling out.
  • Use hand signals to indicate a turn, except when both hands are needed to retain control of the bicycle.
  • When turning left, move cautiously into the far-left or left-turn lane. Don't turn left from the right-hand side of the road.
  • When going straight, merge to the left of “Right Turn Only” lanes while avoiding any turning traffic. Do not go straight in a lane marked "Right Turn Only."

Sidewalks

  • Riding on sidewalks should be avoided and may be prohibited in some areas.
  • If you choose to ride on a sidewalk or crosswalk, where allowed, ride cautiously and yield right-of-way to pedestrians.
  • A bell or vocal warning should be given to pedestrians before passing.

Hazards

  • Be aware of hazards on the roadway, such as parallel-slat sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, sand, and gravel.
  • Cross railroad tracks carefully and at right-angles to the track. Stand up on your pedals for better control.

Helmets

  • All riders are encouraged to wear helmets while riding.
  • A helmet meeting the ANSI, Snell, or ASTM standards is required for anyone under 18 years of age.

Lights

  • When riding at night, bicycles are required to have a headlight emitting white light, visible from no less than 300 feet, as well as rear, pedal, and side reflectors.