Ride of Silence...

“Rules of the Road” for Safe Cycling*

Always Wear A Helmet
A helmet will not prevent a bike crash but it is good, cheap insurance that may allow you to walk away from one. Make sure your helmet fits and is adjusted properly.

2. Follow The Rules Of The Road

Obeying the same traffic laws that apply to motorists allows safe and efficient travel for all. Cyclists who make up their own rules are in great danger.

3. Ride On The Right With Other Traffic
Some people were taught to ride on the wrong side of the road so they can “see traffic coming”. This is dangerous and it is illegal in all 50 states. Pedestrians walk facing traffic so they can sidestep off the road, if necessary. But you cannot sidestep on a bike. The accident rate for wrong-way cyclists is 3.6 times as high as for cycling the "right" way. Other drivers look for traffic coming from the usual direction. They usually are not looking for wrong way traffic.

4. Be Visible!
Other drivers will not hit you IF they can see you. Bright clothes make you easier to spot in the daytime but they are useless at night. Riding without lights in the dark is a very dangerous mistake. About thirty percent of cycling crashes occur at night although only about four percent of cycling is done then. The reflectors that come with new bikes are grossly inadequate for nighttime safety. Always use a headlight and taillight when you ride in the dark.
* Watch this video to understand why it's important to stand out from your environment.

5. Learn Proper Lane Position
Beginners usually “hug the curb” and then wonder why cars pass so close. Experienced cyclists let traffic pass when they can but they “take the lane” when needed for safety. If cars are passing you too close, move a bit left to signal to passing drivers that they must use another lane to pass. If you collect a string of cars behind you, try to find a safe way to let them pass. It takes practice to learn to ride effectively in traffic.  This is a very important part of what's commonly referred to as "Vehicular Cycling", a phrase coined by John Forester.

6. Be Predictable
Ride a good, straight “line”, signal turns and generally look like you know what you are doing. How can you expect other drivers to avoid you if they cannot tell where you are going?

7. Be Courteous
Act like an adult and share the road with other drivers. If others act like jerks, keep your temper -- don't descend to their level.

8. Keep Your Bike In Safe Condition
Give your bike an occasional tune up. Before hopping on your bike, give it a quick check, making sure that wheels are tight and properly inflated and squeeze the brakes hard to see that they work and that cables are not about to snap.

9. Learn From Experienced Cyclists
Experience can be a harsh teacher and it is a slow one. It takes at least 10,000 miles of cycling in traffic to become confident if you try to learn on your own. Joining a good cycling club is an effective way to learn the ins-and-outs of safe cycling.

*Courtesy of Fred Oswald "Ten Tips for Safe & Enjoyable Bicycle Commuting" via the Mountain State Wheelers Bicycle Club, West Virginia’s largest bicycle club (with slight modifications by the RoS webmaster).

Other Bike Safety Resources

Ride Handouts - "Road Rules: Eight Tips For Safer Cycling", provided courtesy of Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club, provide useful information that you can hand out to your riders and promote safe cycling practices:

Brochure that can be printed front & back on 8.5"x11" card stock and cut into brochures.

Links to Other Safety Info.