Even though bicyclists and drivers ride side by side every day, they don’t always get along. It’s a sibling rivalry of sorts, but one with serious consequences: In 2009, 630 bicyclists were killed in the United States and an additional 51,000 were injured in collisions with cars. Whether you’re traveling on two wheels or four, follow these safety tips to help keep the road safe for us all.
- Always obey the rules of the road, no matter how tempting it is to cruise through lights or ignore stop signs. Traffic laws, signals, and road signs apply to bicycles as well as cars.
- Stay off the sidewalk. It may seem safer out of the traffic, but sidewalk riding is a leading cause of crashes.
- Don’t hide in the dark: Wear reflective gear. In low visibility conditions, use headlights and taillights as well.
- When a road is too narrow for cars and bikes to ride next to each other, ride in or near the center of the lane.
- Go with the flow by always riding in the same direction as traffic.
- Wear a properly fitted helmet—your brain will thank you.
- Slow down and stay at least three feet away when passing bicyclists.
- Don’t honk if you like bikes: It could cause a startled bicyclist to swerve into traffic or off the roadway.
- Watch out for kids, who are particularly unpredictable. The rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected.
- Always check for bicyclists before turning a corner or opening your door.
Find more bike safety tips, including educational videos, at AAA.com/bike.
This article was first published in May 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.