Bicycle Safety

Bicycling is fun and healthy but it’s important to remember that a bicycle is not a toy, it’s a vehicle!



Before deciding to ride, can you demonstrate the following bike handling skills?

  • Ride in a straight line
  • Ride in a straight line while scanning the situation ahead, behind and to the side
  • Stop quickly using the bicycle’s brakes without swerving, falling or colliding with anything
  • Swerve in a controlled manner to avoid a hazard or collision


Preparing for Your Ride

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet. Protect your brain, save your life.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear brightly colored, close fitting clothing. Tie your shoes and secure long laces and loose pant legs. Do not wear headphones.
  • Ride a bicycle that fits. When seated on the bicycle, both feet should be firmly planted on the ground and hands should reach the handle bars.
  • Check your equipment. Tires should be firm, brakes should prevent tires from rotating when pushed, chain should not droop or be rusty, and the seat and handlebars should be tight.
  • Don’t carry anyone else on the bicycle. A bicycle with one seat is a bicycle for one person.
  • Don’t carry anything in your hands. Use a backpack, basket or panniers to carry school supplies and books.
  • Consider light and weather conditions upon your return. For night bicycle riding, a white front light (not a reflector) visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector are required. A red rear light may be used in addition to the required reflector.
  • Consider your route. Choose the route with the fewest streets to cross. Avoid busy and high-speed streets


Rules of the Road

Always follow the law and use good judgement. Remember... a bicycle is a vehicle and you’re the

  • Obey All Traffic Laws. Stop at Stop Signs. Obey ALL traffic signs and signals. Use hand signals when turning and stopping.
  • Stop at All Intersections and Check for Traffic Before Crossing. It may be best to dismount and walk your bicycle across large or busy intersections. When possible cross where adult crossing guards are present.
  • Yield to Traffic When Appropriate. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you’re coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, bike path, etc.) you must slow down and look to see if the way is clear before proceeding.
  • Yield to Pedestrians. In most cases, pedestrians have the right of way. When in doubt, stop.
  • Go With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right, in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with
    the flow, not against it.
  • Look Before Turning or Changing Lanes. When turning left or right, always look behind you
    for a break in traffic, then signal before making the turn. Watch for left or right turning traffic.
  • Assume Other Vehicles Don’t See You. Try and make eye contact when necessary.
  • Be Predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Use hand signals.
  • Stay Alert at All Times. Use your eyes and ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, storm grates,
    or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. You need your ears to hear traffic
    and avoid dangerous situations; don’t wear a headset when you ride.
  • Watch for Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected, like
    doors opening or cars pulling out.


Additional Resources