The Fundamentals – Hand Signals – Hazard Recognition – Tips to Avoid Collisions
Even if you are an experienced cyclist, it’s a good idea to review the fundamentals periodically. You may also want to review them with younger cyclists in your family.
Be Alert. Be Wary. Be Seen.
- Be Alert: Scan ahead, center, left and right.
- Be Wary: Pay attention to vehicles, pedestrians and others on the road.
- Be Seen: Use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by others on the road.
10 Tips for Safer Cycling
- Wear your helmet. Follow this simple rule and you reduce your risk of serious injury by as much as 85 percent.
- Keep your head up and look ahead, not at the ground. You need to see what is coming up so you have time to react and maneuver.
- One person per bike. Riding with unsecured passengers puts you at risk for injury to yourself and others.
- Ride in single file with space between bikes.
- Ride on the right side of the road, never against traffic. Otherwise, you are at risk for an accident – or a ticket.
- Plan ahead if you will ride in a group. Agree on the route ahead of time. Have a plan on what you will do if separated by traffic.
- If you will be riding in an unfamiliar area, check out local laws and rules first.
- Avoid busy roads and peak traffic times on your route.
- Before riding at night, ask someone to help you check your visibility to motorists.
- Maintain the bikes in your household. Keep chains clean and lubricated and periodically inspect brake pads.
Communicate your intention to turn, stop, and change lanes using recognized hand signals.
What is a Hazard?
Both road and weather conditions can be dangerous to riders. Identifying potential hazards and paying attention to your surroundings will keep you safer.
Hazards on the road
- Uneven, rough surfaces can cause falls.
- An object in the road can cause a flat tire, loss of balance or unsafe maneuver. Avoid riding across unknown objects.
- Slippery surfaces create a loss of traction which may cause you to lose control of your bike. Slow down or walk your bike across slippery surfaces.
Make safe choices
- Do not wear headphones while riding.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars, except when signaling.
- Keep both feet on pedals.
- In a group, ride single-file, with the flow of traffic.
- Wear a brightly colored helmet and retro-reflective material on your clothing.
- Use the correct hand signals.
- Before entering a roadway: Stop. Look left. Look right. Look left.
Avoid riding at twilight or in the dark, especially on narrow roads and roads with speed limits that exceed 35 mph.