Bike Safety: 9 Tips for
Sharing the Road With Drivers
Three million people are injured every year in car accidents on U.S. roads. In 2019, more than 800 bicyclists are killed in crashes with motor vehicles. The road can be a dangerous place for those on bikes if they're not prepared.
There are several precautions bicyclists can take to avoid a bicycle accident and share the road safely with cars. Here are nine tips:
1. Always Wear a Helmet
It doesn't matter where you're riding your bike — and whether cars are present or not — you should always wear a helmet. According to a study published in the journal Brain Injury, 78% of adult cyclists and 88% of young riders who suffered head and neck injuries were not wearing helmets when they were injured.
2. Always Be Alert
Never wear headphones or a headset. And like when you're driving, put the phone down.
3. Make Sure You Are Seen
If you're riding at sunrise, sunset, night — or any other time when it's harder for drivers to see you on the road — you'll want to take precautions to ensure you're noticed. Use lights on the front and/or back of your bike and wear bright colors.
4. Obey the Rules of the Road
When riding in traffic, you'll be expected to follow all traffic laws. This means turning only when you can turn and following all traffic signs and lights, including stop signs.
5. Keep a Safe Distance
You'll want to stay out of the way of cars and other vehicles. For cars, keep at least four feet away so that you and the car react safely and quickly should you need to.
6. Make Eye Contact with Drivers
You should never assume that a driver has noticed you and your bike, even when you have the right of way. Instead, when you're waiting at a stop sign or light, be sure to make eye contact with the driver, so it's clear that you are there before taking making your turn.
7. Stay Out of Blind Spots
Again, the surrounding drivers must see you, especially the ones who are not trained to look for cyclists. Don't get lost in their blind spots, especially when you are at a stop sign or light.
8. Ride in a Straight Line
This makes your path more predictable for drivers and also makes it easier for them to go around you.
9. Finally, Never Drink and Bike
Like “don't drink and drive” this tip should go without saying.
Riding your bike with cars can be nerve-wracking. But if you're prepared, you can help ensure it will be a safe experience for everyone.