California Department of Transportation
 

Bicycle Safety Tips

Safety in bicycle riding is acquired through use of the appropriate equipment and proper bicycling technique.

Equipment:

  • A well maintained and adjusted bicycle, with particular emphasis on adequate brakes and tires.
  • Good light and reflectors when traveling at times of darkness. Bright clothing.
  • A helmet to protect against head injuries, the most common serious injury suffered by bicyclists.
  • A rear view mirror attached to the helmet, glasses, or handlebars is important to permit evasive action without doing it blindly.

Bicycling Techniques:

  • Most bicycle riding is done on roads and streets shared with motor vehicles. For your safety and the safety of others, obey the rules of the road as if you were driving a car -- stop at stop signs, red lights, and signals before turning or changing lanes.
  • Always ride on the right side of the road. Stay in single file as far to the right as practical. It's both dangerous and illegal to ride on the left side of a two-way highway.
  • Be extremely cautious when traveling through intersections. Be aware of traffic around you, and be prepared to brake quickly.
  • Avoid traveling along the side of cars when passing through intersections -- they may turn in front of you without warning.
  • When riding in a central business district, use extreme caution when passing parked cars, as occupants may not see you when opening doors or pulling out of parking spaces.
  • Keep your hands on the handlebars at all times. Riding with no hands does not permit you to stop or to avoid the ever present hazards -- dogs, potholes, broken glass, cars, etc.
  • Yield to all pedestrians. They can't foresee a dangerous situation as well as you can and may be inattentive. Besides, a bicycle is required by law to yield to pedestrians.
  • Remember, your bicycle is a small, inconspicuous vehicle. It is not easily seen on crowded streets and will seldom attract attention on its own. At all times, do everything you can to make sure you are noticed.