Sharing the Road: Road Biking Safety

Nov 2013

Traffic accidents involving bicyclists and vehicles continue to rise according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Bicycle collisions involving motor vehicles can result from dangerous behaviors by either rider or driver. To prevent bicycle collisions involving motor vehicles, it is important for both bicyclists and motorists to know and understand the rules of sharing the road.

Cyclists, prepare for your next road biking trip by following these safety tips:

1. Ride in the Bike Lane or with the Flow of Traffic

Ride in the bike lane, with the flow of traffic. Sidewalks are not for bikes. When riding on a multi-use path or paved trail, use a bell to signal to pedestrians and other riders when you want to pass.

2. Maintain Control of Your Bike

Maintaining control of your bike is vital to sharing the road safely with motorists. Ensure the bicycle fits you properly and is adjusted to allow you a comfortable ride.

3.  Protect Yourself

Regardless of where you ride, always wear a helmet. A helmet should be worn level, covering your forehead with the straps fastened snugly under your chin.

4. Reflective Equipment

Bicyclists must have proper lights and reflectors when riding at night. Attaching a flashing red rear light just under your seat and mounting a bright white light to your handlebars will increase your visibility to other road traffic.  Always wear bright colored clothing or a reflective vest.

4. Obey All Traffic Signs and Learn Hand Signals

Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws and road signs. Use proper arm signals to communicate with drivers. You’re less likely to get hit when your movements don’t take motorists by surprise.

Remember, cyclists on public roads share the same rights and responsibilities as those in a vehicle and are subject to the same rules and regulations. For a more complete understanding of these rights and rules, refer to your state’s driver handbook or review this slideshow developed by Bicycling Magazine. Whether motorist or cyclist, use common sense, courteous gestures, and know the rules of the road before leaving home.