Bicycle Safety

Bicycling is a legitimate form of transportation. And bicycling safety is the sole responsibility of the bicyclist.

You have as much right to the road as any motor vehicle, unless the road (e.g., high speed interstates) has been deemed off limits to bicycles.

Unfortunately, a bicycle is much smaller and lighter than any motor vehicle and many drivers don’t respect the rights of bicyclist.

General Bicycling Safety Tips

  • Ride With Traffic

    Ride with the traffic and not against it. Motorist are not looking for bicyclist on the opposite side of the road. Think of yourself as being a small, slow motor vehicle, with the same rights and responsibilities.

  • Be Predictable

    Don’t weave between cars and use hand signals to warn motorists. Make sure that a motorist knows what you intend to do and obey all traffic signs and laws.

  • Be Prepared

    Wear the proper clothing and have the proper safety equipment.

  • Watch for Car Doors

    When riding down a street with parked cars, stay about 4 feet away from the parked cars.

  • Use the Lane Properly

    Just like a car, if you are turning right, stay in the proper right turning lane; if you are turning left, move over to the left turning lane. Just like a car, take up the same space. If you are going straight, stay in the rightmost thru lane and make sure that any motor vehicle knows that you are going straight and not turning.

  • Avoid Road Hazards

    Anticipate road hazards like potholes, grates, manholes and other problems before you get there. You don’t want to rapidly avoid these hazards since a motorist may not anticipate your emergency. Signal your intentions.

  • Give Yourself a Bail-Out

    Don’t ride at the edge of the pavement. Try to stay two or three feet inside so that you have somewhere to go if needed. If a car comes too close, only leave the pavement as a last resort. When your fast spinning front wheel meets sand or loose gravel, you are going to spill.

  • Intersections

    You need to be especially vigilant at intersections. Most motor vehicle and bicycle collisions occur here.

  • Stay off Sidewalks

    In most cities, sidewalks are for pedestrians. Always yield to pedestrians. If you are on a bicycle trail, signal when approaching other bicycles and pedestrians.

  • Be Visible

    You need to wear brightly colored jerseys and jackets. Some of the new highly visible yellow and green colored materials are perfect. These colors can be seen low light, fog, and long distances away.

  • Wear a Helmet

    Do I need to say more?

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About John Stultz

John Stultz is the owner of Bear Paw Tents. He's been bicycle touring for over 30 years and is excited for sharing his insight on cycling. He considers himself an ultralight backpacker and ultralight bicycle tourer. John is the original founder of He started the website to share his passion for touring and to help people plan for their own bicycle tour.

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