Rules of the Road
As you prepare to venture out on your bicycle, take a moment to ensure that your transport is safe, in good mechanical order and ready to go. And then, remember some basic rules of the road. The following was gleaned from the League of American Bicyclists web site.
• Check your tires for sufficient air.
• Make sure your brakes are properly working and that your chain is smoothly running to eliminate surprises once you embark.
• Be sure both of your wheel levers are closed; you don’t want your wheels falling off.
• Carry and inspect your emergency supplies, such as a spare, basic tools and a patch kit.
• Wear a helmet
Follow the law. Bicycles are considered vehicles that must follow the same laws as motor vehicles. This means properly signaling for turns and obeying all traffic signals and signs. Sidewalks and crosswalks are for pedestrians, not bikes.
Ride with traffic. Ride as far to the right as practicable. Motor vehicles are required to give you a safe distance when passing. They must give you the right of way when they are pulling out of a side street. Even if you have the right, it is unwise to challenge a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds more than you.
Be predictable to be safe. Maintain a steady, straight line while riding. Check behind you before turning or changing lanes. If you are riding in a bike lane to the right of a right-turn lane when you want to go straight, move left out of the bike lane before the intersection.
Be conspicuous. Be as visible as possible, riding where drivers can see you. Wear bright clothing. Use front and rear reflectors. Use lights at night or during poor visibility. Make eye contact with drivers.
Think ahead. Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians and other bicyclists will do next. Always watch for turning vehicles and avoid riding too close to parked vehicles to avoid hitting an opening door. Yield to pedestrians and alert them to your approach by calling to them or ringing a bell. Keep alert for any debris, potholes or railroad tracks that may be in your path.
Keep your cool. Sometimes drivers won’t see you and inadvertently cut you off or drive too close. Road rage will solve nothing and most drivers don’t appreciate a lecture. Let it go.