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Tips for Bike Safety

Bicyclists on public roadways assume the same rights and responsibilities as other road users. They  are subject to the same traffic laws and local ordinances. For everyone’s safety, observe these bicycling tips:

  • Tune into the road! Avoid using headphones and cellphones while riding. Remain focused and don’t ride distracted.
  •  Go with the flow of traffic. Ride in the same direction as other traffic, never against it.
  • Always follow the rules of the road.  Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights, too.
  • Use proper signals when you want to stop or turn. For a left turn, stretch your left arm to the left; for a right turn, stretch your right arm to the right. For a stop, hold your left arm downward.
  • Look out for doors. Watch for opening car doors when passing a parked motor vehicle.
  • Watch your back before turning and while maneuvering.
  • Watch for blind spots when coming up behind / beside cars.
  • Yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Look back before you pass or merge. Leave a good 3-4 feet when passing a pedestrian or another bicyclist.
  • Don’t ride on sidewalks. Use the street, bike lane, or bike path.
  • Be bright, use lights!
    • Use a light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the back of your bike while riding at night. Lights help you see and help everyone else see you.
  • Be visible. Wear bright-colored or reflective clothing.

 Sharing the Road

  • Ride safely and courteously. Obey stop signs and traffic signals.
  • Signal your intentions. Hand signals tell other road users what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy, and self-protection.
  • Follow lane markings. Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked “right-turn-only.” Stay to the left of the right-turn-only lane if you are going straight.
  • Ride in a straight line. Whenever possible, ride in a straight line, to the right of traffic but about a car door’s width away from parked cars.
  • Choose the best way to turn left. 1) Like an auto. Signal, move into the left lane, and turn left. 2) Like a pedestrian. If you are within a designated crosswalk, dismount and walk your bike across.
  • Watch your speed. Observe posted speed limits and obey the basic speed law.
  • Watch for right-turning traffic. Motorists turning right may not notice cyclists on their right. Watch for indications that a motorist may turn into your path.
  • When approaching intersections, stay far enough from the curb to allow cars to turn right on your right. Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed.

Safety Tips

1. Wear a good-quality bike helmet.

2. Check brakes and tires before riding.

3. Watch your speed. Observe posted speed limits and obey the basic speed rule: never ride faster than is safe under existing conditions.

4. Look out for and avoid road surface hazards:

  • loose sand, rocks, glass, and debris;
  • road expansion joints that run parallel to the front tire;
  • standing water and puddles;
  • drainage grates with holes that run parallel to the front tire;
  • holes, cracks, and road-edge deterioration or drop-offs; and
  • railroad tracks not perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Be careful if cycling in the rain. Remember:

  • Wet rims and wet brake pads increase braking distance. Apply brakes earlier than you would in dry conditions.
  • Visibility is decreased so wear bright-colored clothing and rain gear.
  • Road surfaces, manhole covers, and painted stripes become slicker. Slow down, especially when turning.
  • Avoid puddles. You never know how deep a hole is if it is full of water.

For more safety tips:

Save a Life, Texas Department of Transportation