6 Tips on How to Ride a Bike on the Street

3 minute read.

 Easy right – How difficult can it possibly be? Be safe, wear a helmet, stay on the right side of the street or in the bike lane, always watch for cars and be attentive to your surroundings. Let’s take a few minutes to review cycling's best practices for both pedal bike and ebike pedal assist bikes.

SAFETY FIRST 

Always for all bikes and all bike riding.

WEAR A HELMET!

Helmets save lives, protecting your head is critical with a helmet, always, always, always wear a helmet on every ride!

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Dress for being SEEN day and night.

During the day, fluorescent clothing takes ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, light we can’t see, and converts it into light we can see. Giving fluorescent clothing a brighter appearance and more visible to others. Night riding – REFLECTIVE! When riding at night, fluorescent gear should be traded for clothing that’s as reflective as possible, with particular attention paid to the knees and ankles. Also recommend front and rear lights – more on that later.

Principle of Traffic Laws - Move with the flow of traffic.

  • Ride on the RIGHT, never against traffic
  • Yield to crossing traffic.
  • Yield when changing lanes
  • Speed Positioning – Slower movers on the right, pass on the left.
  • Lane Positioning – Ride away from the curb and parked cars. Never ride in the gutter and ride in the middle of the lane if the lane cannot be shared safely.
  • ALWAYS FOLLOW ALL Street signs, stop signs, signals and markings.
  • With an ebike – mind the speed limits too. Electric bikes are capable of going over 28mph. 
  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Always ride in control. Proceed at a safe speed that permits, you to react quickly to unexpected circumstances.

Bike Lights!

Always ride with a bike light

Lights on your bike! Always use a WHITE headlight and a RED rear taillight. Let cars and others know you are there on the street riding. 

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Traffic Bike Riding Techniques

Make sure there’s plenty of room between you and other rides or vehicles so you have time to react in case of an emergency. What qualifies as plenty of room? Enough space to react to something unexpected. Stay at least four feet between you and a vehicle. General rule - aim for one bike length (or more) per each five miles an hour in speed.

Keep a comfortable distance from the curb. Stay centered in the bike lane.

Try to stay in the marked bike lanes. Ride single file. Don’t ride on sidewalks, motorist when leaving driveways often do not see bikes on sidewalks as they pull out.

Be equipped with a bell, a horn or a whistle or YELL. Be heard to let other riders or motorist know you are coming through.

Only pass other cyclists on the LEFT.

Pedal strongly when going through intersections

Always be ready to brake! Keep your hands near the brake levers so you can stop quickly.

If 5 or more cars are lined up behind you, pull over and allow them to pass.

Be predictable, if possible. Riding on busy streets or where there is a lot of traffic, be predictable. Try not to swerve or maneuver in a way that a car behind you may not see coming. 

Always be LOOKING and LISTENING - Have Road Awareness

  • Surroundings change constantly, stay alert.
  • Make eye contact with motorists. If they see you, this helps ensure your intentions are known and understood.
  • Use your hand signals. — To signal a left turn, look behind you, over your left shoulder, and then extend your left arm out. — To signal a right turn, hold your left arm up with your elbow bent. — To signal that you are slowing or stopping, extend your left arm down.
  • Avoid large or other vehicle blind spots.
  • Always approach intersections, side streets with caution – ring a bell etc.
  • Protect your eyes – wear proper sunglasses or eye glasses to eliminate glare.
  • KNOW where you are going – plan your route.

Conclusion

Follow the above mentioned tips to ensure that you are safe - get you and your bike out for a ride on the streets. Happy and safe riding!

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