In many states, cyclists operate under the same laws as vehicle drivers, with the same rights and responsibilities. But, they only have a helmet for protection and are much more vulnerable in case of an accident. Practicing defensive cycling will help keep you safe. Use these safety tips to have enjoyable and safe cycles.
Before you ride:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wear bright and reflective clothing.
- Wear form-fitting clothes that will not get caught in the chain.
- Inspect your bicycle for damaged, broken, or worn parts and replace or repair accordingly.
- Select a route with bike lanes, or at a minimum, wide curbside lanes, and good lighting.
- Check your planned route for any obstructions, railroad tracks, bus or truck routes, and bridge hazards.
- Make certain your route does not include any interstates or highways which do not permit bicycles.
Register Your Bike:
- You can register the serial number of your bicycle with your local police department.
- Bicycles ridden on a highway must have brakes that skid on clean, dry pavement.
- Bicycles ridden between sunset and sunrise must have a white light visible 500 feet on the front and red reflector visible 300 feet on the back.
On the Road:
- Never ride against the flow of traffic, always ride in the same direction as the vehicles on the road.
- Obey all traffic signals, signs, markings, and lights.
- Cycle as close as is practical and safe to the curb.
- Be extremely cautious around large vehicles, as they tend to make wide turns and roll back when starting up.
- Reduce your speed at intersections and make eye contact with drivers as not all drivers stop or yield at intersections.
- Watch for turning vehicles, especially a driver turning across your lane, or a driver turning onto the road you're on from a side street.
- Signal your intention to turn, stop, or change direction. Remember, you may turn left either with pedestrians or vehicles.
- When passing a vehicle, you may do so on the right or left. You may stay in the same lane as the vehicle, change to a different lane, or ride off the road.
In Case of an Accident:
- Report accidents directly to the police if the accident involves any injury, property damage, or death.
- Give your name and contact information to anyone involved in the accident.
- If the accident involves damage to property, you must make effort to find the owner and report the accident. If you can't find them, leave a note at the site and report the accident directly to the police.
*This post is in thanks to the VA DMV