More Safe Riding Tips
Bicycles offer many opportunities for recreation, exercise and personal transportation, but they must be ridden with safety in mind. Following the tips listed below will make you a safer and more confident bicyclist.
- Obey all traffic signals, signs and lane markings.
- Ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Pass slower moving or stopped vehicles on their left.
- Ride far enough away from the curb to stay clear of opening car doors, potholes, debris and sewer grates and to maintain a straight line.
- Be alert, scan the route ahead for traffic, opening car doors, pedestrians and obstacles on the road surface.
- Ride predictably so that others can see you and predict your movements. Use hand signals to indicate turns.
- Make eye contact with motorists and pedestrians before crossing paths.
- Except when signaling, always keep both hands on the handlebars and be ready to brake. Use secure racks or packs for carrying items or packages.
- Go slower and use caution when the road is wet or icy, or when visibility limited.
- Be visible; use lights, and reflectors are required when riding at night. Brightly colored or reflective clothing can help increase visibility.
- Avoid bicycling upon sidewalks, especially in areas where motorists may not expect bicyclists or may have obstructed visibility.
- Keep your bicycle in good working condition. Also, only ride a bicycle that is sized and adjusted to fit you.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) offers an extensive list of laws and safety tips for bicyclists, including where to ride, signaling and changing directions, and helmet use on their Laws and Safety Tips page.
For a side by side comparison of Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland bikes laws, please visit WABA's guide to Bike Laws.