Bicycle Safety & Driver Etiquette Tips

Bicycle lane road markingEven the occasional cyclist knows the obvious safety tips: Wear a helmet and Don’t get hit by a car. While that’s a great start, we’re here to take you deeper into the two-wheeled-world of safety. Whether you bike for physical fitness, to save money and the environment, or to avoid the traffic headache by commuting, bicycles are more popular than ever. Read on for tips that every rider and driver need to know.

Tips For Cyclists

Even before hitting the road, make sure your bike and body are well prepared.

  • Just like a car, your bike needs routine maintenance. Check your brakes regularly and keep your tires inflated. An expert at a local bike shop can even do a complete tune-up.
  • Make sure your bike is adjusted to fit you. Again, your local bike shop can make adjustments to optimize the bike for you.
  • Get the right accessories. A bell to alert pedestrians, mirrors, reflectors and, of course, a helmet. A headlight and taillight are often required by law when riding at night.
  • Your bike is in shape, but are you? Before taking a long trip, start with shorter trips and stretch beforehand.
  • Dress for the part. Wear light, reflective clothing at night. For longer trips, dress in layers.

A helmet is great, but preventing a collision in the first place is even better. Follow these tips to do your part—we’ve got tips for motorists below.

  • Be predictable. Always ride in a straight line, as far to the right as safely possible, but remaining visible to drivers. Don’t swerve, and use hand signals if you’re slowing down or turning.
  • Get personal. Make eye contact with other drivers (in a non-creepy way) to ensure that they see you, and they’ll give you more respect on the road.
  • Watch for hazards. Piles of leaves, puddles, gravel and other dangers could make you lose control of your bike. In the city, watch for manhole covers, sewer grates and other surfaces that can become slick.
  • Obey the law. Since laws vary by state, make sure you know the rules beforehand.  Red lights and stop signs apply to you, too.

Tips For Motorists

Bicycles share the road signBicycles on the road are, by law, vehicles with the same rights as motor vehicles. It’s the responsibility of both the rider and driver to share the road. Here’s a few ways to protect those using pedal power.

  • Be patient. If the lane is too narrow, if there’s oncoming traffic, or if you don’t have enough visibility to pass…don’t.
  • Reduce your speed when approaching a bicycle. Even if there’s a bike lane, an opening car door, for example, may cause the rider to swerve into traffic.
  • Don’t honk. You could startle the rider. Make eye contact and, if you make a mistake, everyone loves a courtesy wave.
  • Be extra cautious of children. They can be even more unpredictable and less aware of the dangers around them.

By Nathan Erb

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. S.R.T. says

    When passing a bicycle always make sure you clear the bicycle handle bars by 3 feet “36” “inches”. Im a mororist and a cyclist ,most cars drivers seem like they see how close they can get to you by a couple of inches , no respect and courtesy, at all.

  2. Moniqa says

    Instead of reinforcing drivers’ all-too-common negative attitudes about cyclists who roll through stop signs and lights, you might mention that many cities’ legislation instructs cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights as stop signs because it’s safer for cyclists AND drivers, and encourage readers to look up their local laws.

  3. Norman says

    Bicycling and motor biking two things have great danger within. If anyone rides these things without proper safety kits wearing, in case of an unexpected accident, they can experience a huge blow. So it’s crucial to maintain and follow these bicycle safety etiquette tips! I really enjoyed reading this blog post. Thanks.