Top 10 Ways to Stay Safe While Biking
1. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET; NEVER RIDE WITH HEADPHONES – Always wear a helmet. Never wear headphones while riding a bike.
2. NEVER RIDE AGAINST TRAFFIC – Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
3. FOLLOW LANE MARKINGS – Ride in the rigth-most lane that goes in your direction. Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.” Ride your bike just like you would drive your car so that your actions will be predictable to other drivers.
4. DON’T PASS ON THE RIGHT – Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right. Learn to scan the road behind you while riding. Look back over your shoulder without swerving, or use a rear-view mirror.
5. SCAN THE ROAD – Ride defensively. Scan for traffic and signal lane changes and turns. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
6. HAND SIGNALS – Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
7. RIDE IN MIDDLE OF LANE IN SLOW TRAFFIC – Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
8. CHOOSE THE BEST WAY TO TURN LEFT – Two Choices: (1) Like an auto: signal move into the left turn lane and turn left; (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
9. MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH DRIVERS – Assume that other drivers don’t see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
10. AVOID ROAD HAZARDS – Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
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OBEY TRAFFIC SIGNS AND SIGNALS – Bicycles must drive like other vehicles if they are to be taken seriously by motorists.
DON’T WEAVE BETWEEN PARKED CARS – Don’t ride out to the curb between parked cars unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you try to move back into traffic. It is also critical to always ride predictably.
KEEP BOTH HANDS READY TO BRAKE – You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since breaks are less efficient when wet.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY – In rain wear a pancho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so, you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear a sturdy helmet to protect your head. Wear bright colored clothing.
USE LIGHTS AT NIGHT – Not only is it the only smart thing to do, Utah law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a red taillight (visible from 500 feet from behind).
KEEP BIKE IN GOOD REPAIR – Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself. Get in the habit of conducting an ABC Quick Check before every ride. (Adapted from Bike Registry Canada.)
Return to the Staying Safe While Biking page.
Return to UtahBikingLaw.com.