Rules of the Road and Safety Tips for Bicyclists
- Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic. In the same space as a vehicle. This puts the cyclist where others expect to see them. Riding against or facing traffic is illegal and a common factor in many bicycle crashes. Riding beside traffic often causes cashes and confusion what bike and vehicles are doing when near each other.
- Observe all traffic signs and signals. A bicycle is classified as a vehicle and is obligated to follow the same rules as other vehicles.
- Use hand signals before making a turn or stopping. Left arm out straight for a left turn, left arm out and bent up at the elbow for a right turn, and left arm out and bent down at the elbow for a stop. However its best to make eye contact with drivers when possible as many drivers do not know bike hand signals.
- Use front and rear lights and reflectors at night or in low light.
- Avoid the “door zone.” When riding beside parked cars, position your bike far enough to the left in the lane to avoid a suddenly opened car door.
- Maintain a straight line along the right side of your lane. Weaving between parked cars and in and out of the lane may take you out of the view of following motorists. When possible use the bike lanes, but be aware many motorists may not be aware of rules of bike lanes so drive defensively.
- Look for hazards. Be aware of hazards around you, such as drainage grates with openings that could trap your wheel, cracks in the pavement, uneven road surfaces, broken glass, low hanging branches or other potential hazards. Do not wear earphones when riding.
- Be aware of the driveways and intersections. Many bicycle crashes occur at intersections or driveways when a motorist turns in front of a cyclist. Keep your eyes and ears on other traffic for signs that someone may make a turn in front of you.
- Wear a helmet.. A bicycle helmet has been proven to provide head protection should a fall or crash occur.
- Keep your bike maintained.. If you are unsure how to maintain your bike, take it to a bike shop. A well-maintained bike reduces the risk of crash.
Tips compiled from national resources by Carolinas Center for Injury Prevention. These tips and information do not guarantee the prevention of death or injury and should not be the only source of information used. For more on traffic safety, visit www.facebook.com/IRIDESAFECAROLINA