Sharing the Road as a Bicyclist

Wed, 5/23/2018 - 12:04 am by Kirsten Rincon

Riding a bicycle is obviously a very good and healthy activity. It’s an excellent exercise, it burns a lot of calories, and it can help you build muscle all over your body. Plus, it’s a far more eco-friendly means of transportation than cars, and riding a bike is a lot cheaper than driving a car. These are all good reasons to start riding a bike, if you haven’t tried it before. But, no matter how beneficial to your health and the environment riding a bike is, bicyclists have to be aware that they are facing various safety risks every time they hit the road. They must make sure they pay attention to traffic laws that apply to every other road user, and they have to know what the proper way to share the road with motor vehicles is.

The basic thing all bicyclists must remember is that they have to wear protective cycling gear at all times, including a helmet, gloves, sunglasses, flashing lights on the front and the back of the bike, as well as horns and bells. Also, you should wear brightly colored clothing when riding a bike during daytime, and reflective clothes when cycling at night. This way, motorists will have no trouble noticing you on the road, and they’ll be more careful as they approach you.

Once you’re on the road, you must have in mind that you have certain responsibilities with regards to sharing the road with motorists and pedestrians. You must obey all the traffic laws, signals and road signs, and you have to use hand signals to let other road users know while making turns or while stopping. Cyclists have to ride in the same direction as other traffic, and always use the lane that is closest to the right curb. If you are moving at the same speed as cars or motorcycles, you can ride in the center of the lane. Otherwise, you must stay to the right.

As far as the way you ride is concerned, you should always try and ride in a straight line, slow down and check for traffic on your left and right before crossing an intersection, and you have to use the same turn lanes that motorists use. Also, you should try to anticipate potential hazards on the road and make sure you adjust your speed and position so that you can react accordingly. It’s wise to make eye contact with motorists, so that they notice you and know that you are near them.

When it comes to bicycle traffic laws, they vary from one state to another, mainly in regards with the type of safety equipment cyclists are obliged to wear and the penalties for those who violate the laws. For example, some states require that cyclists under the age of 16 wear helmets at all times, but other states make it mandatory to wear a helmet for persons under the age of 18. Also, some states require cyclists to carry identification, and other states don’t have that requirement.