Summer Cycling Safety Tips
The road is for sharing, on two wheels or four.
You may be kitted out in a full-body speed suit on an elite racing bike or casually pedaling a cruiser with a bell and a basket, but when you hit the road on a bicycle, it’s imperative that you follow all traffic and safety rules.
Bicycles on the roadway are considered vehicles, so when it comes to obeying traffic laws, riders have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. In honor of World Bicycle Day on June 3, here are some tips cyclists and motorists should follow to help make the road a safer place.
For cyclists on electric bikes, road bikes and more
Each year in the United States, approximately 1,000 bicyclists die and over 130,000 are injured in crashes, according to the CDC. The best strategy for reducing your risk includes following these recommendations:
- Top priority: Wear a helmet and make sure it is properly fitted to your head.
- Go bright: Wear brightly colored clothing at all times. If you’re biking in the morning or evening, wear reflective gear, which will shine brightly in the headlights of passing cars, making you more visible to drivers.
- See the blind spots: Assume that drivers don’t see you. Trucks, buses, vans and other large vehicles have blind spots, so it’s a good idea to stay far behind them and use extra caution if they’re turning right.
- Scan ahead: Keep an eye out for road hazards such as potholes, grates and broken glass that can cause a crash or a flat tire. Also look for sidewalk cracks and debris that could cause a problem.
- Listen up: Don’t wear headphones while you’re cycling. It’s important to hear what’s happening around you on the road.
- Stay hands-on: Control your bicycle by keeping both hands on the handlebars except when signaling a turn (or drinking from your water bottle if you’re an experienced rider).
- Stay the course: Ride on the roads or shared pathways instead of on sidewalks.
- Be a follower: Follow the rules of the road, including stopping at stop signs and red lights.
- Stay single: If you’re riding in a group, ride in single file.
- Go with the flow: Always ride with the flow of traffic, not facing traffic.
- Cross with caution: Cross at intersections, and do not pull into the roadway from between parked cars. Dismount from your bike and cross as a pedestrian.
- Plan: Plan your trip ahead of time. Bicyclists can map their routes with TripTik or through the AAA Mobile app. Choose the bicycle icon to adjust the route.
For motorists on residential streets, main roads and more
- Talk later: Avoid distractions—especially your mobile phone. Turn your phone off, place it in do-not-disturb mode, put it in the glove compartment, or have a passenger send messages and navigate for you.
- Take a horn hiatus: Don’t honk your horn at cyclists. This can startle them into running off the road or into traffic.
- Check things out: Before opening your door, check around carefully for cyclists.
- Do right by riders: When preparing to make a right turn, check for cyclists on your right. Stay out of a bike lane unless you must enter it to make a turn.
- Give space: Don’t crowd cyclists when passing them.
- No tailgating: Don’t tailgate cyclists; they can stop significantly faster than a vehicle can.
Find more safety tips at AAA.com/Bicycle.
*Bicycle transportation service is counted toward your allotted roadside assistance service calls per member, per membership year.