Safety Tips for Bicyclists

getabout columbia logoChoose the Best Way to Turn Left

There are two ways to make a left turn:

  1. Like a motorist: look back over your shoulder, signal, move into the left lane and turn.
  2. Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far-side crosswalk, then walk your bike across the intersection.

Carry Identification

It is a good idea to carry identification in case of an accident or if stopped for a traffic infraction.

Dress Appropriately

Wear a hard-shell helmet whenever you ride. Wear light-colored clothes at night to make yourself as visible as possible. Also, layering can be key in staying comfortable when riding in wet or cold weather. Leg bands are a cheap and easy way to keep your pant leg free of chain grease.

Avoid Road Hazards

Watch out for sewer grates, oily pavement, slippery manhole covers, gravel and ice. Cross railroad tracks at right angles because those tracks can be slippery when wet, too. Slowing down in tricky areas decreases your stopping/braking distance, which gives you more time to react to the unexpected.

Go Slow On Sidewalks and Multi-Use Paths

Pedestrians have the right of way on walkways. You must give an audible signal when you pass, using either a bell or your voice. Cross driveways and intersections at a walker’s pace and look carefully for traffic. Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on sidewalks in downtown Columbia.

Don’t Pass On the Right

Drivers may not look or see a bicyclist passing on the right. You could be seriously injured if a motorist does not see you. When stopping in traffic, it is safer and more courteous to hold your place in the line of traffic.

Follow Lane Markings

Do not turn left from the right lane. Don’t travel straight through in a lane marked right-turn-only. Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, never against it. Obey the rules of the road. 

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