Cycling is becoming increasingly popular for transportation, physical fitness, and as a recreational activity.
As a cyclist you often share the road with vehicles which can create dangerous situations leading to personal injury, or in some cases, some cyclists have even been killed.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, each year in California hundreds of thousands of people are injured in bicycle collisions. In these cases, some can be attributed to the bicyclist’s behavior while others are the fault of the motorist.
It is important to understand that:
- Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Refer to the California Driver Handbook to become familiar with these rules.
- Motorists must look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes, and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.
The DMV also provides four basic cycling safety tips, which include:
- Maintain control of your bicycle.
- Protect yourself – reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet.
- Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions.
- Ride with traffic.
In addition to these four basic safety tips, there are many things you can do to control your bicycle in a safe manner.
First, always ensure that the bicycle you are riding is the right size and has been properly adjusted to fit you. A bicycle that is properly equipped to handle you will be easier to control, more comfortable, and cause less fatigue while riding.
If you are uncertain of what bicycle is the appropriate size for you, it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a bicycle shop to help you make the right choice.
Just like a vehicle, it is also important that your bicycle is properly maintained, this can be done through regular inspections.
Cycling Safety Tips
In addition to the basic cycling safety tips above, you should also:
- Protect yourself by wearing a helmet. In California, individuals under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle on a public road.
- Wear visible clothing. This can be accomplished by wearing light or brightly colored clothes.
- Use lights or reflectors when biking at night.
- Be ready to stop or take evasive action if necessary.
- Ride on the right, but not so far that you might hit the curb. You could lose your balance and fall into traffic.
- Keep your eyes on the road ahead and look out for any potential hazards such as potholes, gravel, broken glass, or other unsafe conditions.
For more information, visit the Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Motorists page on the DMV website.