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Bicycle Safety

Riding on the highway

Obey traffic signs and signals. Bicycles must drive like other vehicles if they are to be taken seriously by motorists.

Never ride with headphones. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.

Use hand signals to tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.

Ride in the middle of the lane in slow traffic. Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.

Choose the best way to turn left. Use one of two ways:

  • Like an auto: signal, move into the left turn lane and turn left.
  • Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.

Make eye contact with drivers. Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver who might pose a threat to your safety.

Avoid road hazards. Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

Never ride against traffic. Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.

Don't weave between parked cars. Don't ride out to the curb between parked cars unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you try to move back into traffic.

Follow lane markings. Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked "right-turn only."

Don't pass on the right. Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right. Learn to scan the road behind you while riding. Look back over your shoulder without swerving, or use a rear-view mirror.

Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.

Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.

Dress appropriately. In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear a sturdy helmet to protect your head. Wear bright colored clothing, and wear reflective safety clothing when riding at night.

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