AAA wants you to pedal with more peace of mind. Before you take to the road, read our useful tips to ensure you get where you're going safely. You may also want to review them with younger cyclists in your family.
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.
Use recognized hand signals to communicate your intention to turn, stop, and change lanes.
Avoid Collisions. 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.
Be Alert. Be Wary. Be Seen.
Scan ahead, center, left and right.
Pay attention to vehicles, pedestrians and others on the road.
Use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by others on the road.
Stay well behind large vehicles because they may not see you.
Exercise extreme caution when you are behind a large vehicle turning right.
Watch for vehicles that may not see you and turn wide at intersections.
Watch for people in parked vehicles who may open the door as you are passing.
Where Cycling is Permitted
Roads. Follow the rules of the road when riding on city streets. Be extra cautious at busy intersections. Look well ahead always scan intersections before crossing.
Sidewalks. Cycling on sidewalks may or may not be allowed in your community. Be sure you know the rules. Cyclists exiting private property, a driveway or an alley must yield to all road users. Even if bikes are permitted, sidewalks present many hazards to cyclists, such as: • Pedestrians with pets and strollers. • Obstructions such as debris, open gates, planters and landscaping. • Other cyclists, skateboarders, walkers and runners.
Crosswalks and Overpasses. Walk your bike on pedestrian crosswalks and overpasses. This gives you the right-of-way as a pedestrian. If you ride your bike across crosswalks and overpasses, you may not have the legal right-of-way.
Trails. Cycling is permitted on trails designed as bicycle routes. Always obey posted trail and park closures.
Parks. Some parks require cyclists to leave parks by closing time. Check with local police or park rangers.
Share the Road
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, including the right to ride in the traffic lane.
Stay alert—avoid all distractions while driving.
Yield to bicyclists when turning. In bad weather, give bicyclists extra passing room, just as you would other motorists.
Make a visual check for bicyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.
Slow down and give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing. Reduce your speed when passing bicyclists, especially when the road is narrow.
NEVER honk your horn at a bicyclist—it could cause them to swerve into traffic or off the roadway and crash.
Always check for bicyclists before opening your car door.
Children on bicycles are often unpredictable—expect the unexpected.
Ride on the roadway or shared pathways, rather than on sidewalks.
It is illegal and unsafe for bicyclists to ride against (or facing) traffic.
Follow the same rules of the road as other roadway users, including riding in the same direction as traffic.
Bicyclists must obey all traffic controls, signs and signals.
Signal all turns.
Wear a bicycle helmet every time and on every ride.
Be visible by wearing bright colors during the day, reflective gear in low light conditions, and use head and tail lights at night.
Remember that respect is a two way street. Show motorists the same courtesy that you expect from them.
Review Helmet Safety guidelines for all ages and remember--it's the law in California.