Bicycle Safety Tips

Wear a helmet

Everyone should wear a helmet on every ride no matter how short. Your helmet should fit correctly and meet all safety standards set by the Snell Memorial Foundation or American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Know the rules of the road

  • Know your local traffic laws.
  • Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings.
  • Cycle single file, and on the right side of the road (with traffic).
  • Signal in advance of a turn; use correct hand signals.
  • Yield to pedestrians; yield to other vehicles, as appropriate.
  • Make sure your bicycle is the proper size and is safely maintained.
  • Never wear headphones; they hinder your ability.

Be visible

  • Wear bright colored clothing (fluorescent colors are particularly good).
  • If you must ride at night wear light colored clothing with reflective triangular patches and wristbands.
  • Equip your bicycle with reflectors on the front and rear. The rear deflectors should be red and at least three inches across, pointed straight back to reflect the headlights of vehicles at least 600 feet away.
  • Attach bicycle reflectors to the pedals and wheels. Wheel reflectors can include retroreflective spokes, cranks, and wheel rims.
  • Use a bright, white headlight, preferably one that makes you visible to drivers 500 feet away.

Share the road

  • Make eye contact, smile, or wave to communicate with motorists. Courtesy and predictability are key to safe cycling.
  • Be aware of pedestrians and other vehicles. Learn to anticipate their actions.
  • Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars.
  • Keep control of your bicycle; be able to look behind you and ride with one hand while signaling.
  • Always check behind you before changing lanes.
  • Be aware of potential hazards like road litter, potholes, gravel, and storm grates.
  • Make sure that books, clothes, and other items are securely attached to the bicycle or carried in a backpack.
  • Use bells or horns to alert pedestrians and vehicles.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "Along For the Ride"