Fast Tips for Smart Bicycling
A compilation of quick tips to make biking safe and fun
Clothing and equipment
- Choose a bike that fits the rider and the type of surface it's going to be used on (off-road or pavement).
- Add safety-oriented accessories like headlights or reflectors for an extra margin of security.
- Wear appropriate headgear and clothing (bright or fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night); safety, not style, should be the criterion for bike riding. Make it easy for drivers to see you. Avoid long skirts and flare pants. Use safety clips or leg bands to keep pant legs from getting caught on chains or spokes.
- Always carry the following: Pen, notebook, photo ID and contact information for friend or relative (in case of accident or injury). Add an Emergency Information Sheet (name, address, allergies/conditions) and any emergency medication (bee sting kit or diabetic or heart meds, for example).
Safe biking rules
- Know the “Rules of the Road.” Ride on the right side of the road with traffic, not against traffic. (For more information, read the Bicycle Traffic Laws Guide.
- Know the hand signals:
- Right Turn: Upper arm straight out parallel to the road, forearm and hand straight up and perpendicular to the road (Some states allow a right turn with your right arm straight out and parallel to the road)
- Left Turn: Arm straight out and parallel to the road.
- Braking: Upper arm straight out parallel to the road, forearm and hand straight down and perpendicular to the road
- Always signal with your left hand.
- Make sure your children know safety rules. Go to Teaching Your Child to Ride a Bicycle, Bicycle Safety for Kids and our blog entry on Teaching Your Child How to Ride a Bike.
- Keep your ears open. If you listen to music while biking, be sure to have at least one ear free to listen for the sounds of the road. Use an earpiece for your cell phone.
Theft and accident issues
- Take photographs of your bike and date the photo or use your camera's date stamp to document the current condition of your bike. File the photos with the original sales receipt for the bike.
- Ask your insurance agent if your bicycle is covered under your homeowner's or renter's property, and, if so, what the deductible is.
- For more accident and theft information, go to When Your Bike is Stolen and If You're In a Bicycle Accident.
Other Bicycle Pages