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Monday, May 23, 2016

Share the Road: Tips for Cyclists

Post 2 in a 3-part series on road safety.

Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all need to share the responsibility of road safety, so we'll be sharing tips for each group in a post if its own. We all need to work together to share the road, so we can all arrive at our destinations safely.

A couple weeks ago, we shared some tips for drivers, and today we'd like to share some tips for cyclists.

Share the Road: Tips for Cyclists

First, and foremost, know the local traffic laws.

Remember that cyclists are a part of traffic, and need to follow all the same rules and laws as the drivers. 
  • Stop for red lights
  • Wait your turn at traffic lights and stop signs
  • Don't erratically change lanes
  • Make your hand signals when turning and stopping
  • Have reflectors and lights

Take a lane, instead of a sidewalk.

It might seem scarier at first, but biking in the lane with traffic is actually safer than riding on the sidewalk. In fact, biking on sidewalks is illegal in many areas. When biking on a sidewalk, there are far more obstacles (pedestrians, light poles, uneven pavement) that could result in a cyclist being thrown off the sidewalk and into traffic without any warning to the cars on the road.

Take the lane, instead of the shoulder.

Similar to sidewalks, shoulders are often riddled with obstacles for cyclists - sewer drains, leaves, broken glass, parked cars, etc. All of these obstacles are huge hazards for cyclists, and can result is unexpected swerving into traffic. When you bike on the shoulder, the cars in the lanes may not be paying as close attention to you, so when you have to swerve, it could quickly turn into disaster.

Drivers might feel you're being obnoxious by taking the lane, but it really is so much safer for everyone when you do.

When possible, stay to the right of the lane; however, if the lane is narrow, ride in the center. This alerts drivers that it is not safe to pass within the same lane, but requires moving into the next lane (possibly oncoming traffic) to safely pass.

Be visible and alert.

Use front and rear reflectors at all times - even during the day. Add additional lights once the sun starts to go down. Wearing bright colors doesn't hurt either. Or a perhaps a reflective vest.

Always use hand signals when coming to a stop, turning, or switching lanes.

Bicycle Hand Signals

When possible, try to make eye contact with the drivers. This help announce your presence and reminder drivers that you are a living, breathing person.

Wear a helmet.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but just do it! Even if it's just a short ride down the street. Just like wearing your seatbelt, a helmet can greatly increase your chances of surviving a crash.

More and more people are jumping on their bikes for recreation and/or commuting, so sharing the road is becoming more and more important. Let's work together to makes our roads even safer!

Jeff and Clarinda

What are your favorite safety tips for cyclists?

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  1. YES TO A HELMET!! i need to get a tune up on my bike and take it out again its been too long!

  2. These are excellent tips. I am terrified of riding in traffic, mostly because I fall over often, especially when clipped in. But my husband rides often and thankfully he does follow these rules.

  3. thanks for sharing this great tips


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