Bicycle Safety

State laws define bicycles as moving vehicles subject to the same traffic regulations as automobiles, etc. As a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities as a motorist does.

  • Ride predictably, just as you would if you were operating a motor vehicle. Blending in with the normal traffic flow is the safest way to ride.
  • Ride on the right side of the roadway with the flow of traffic. Riding on the left or on the sidewalk significantly increases your chances for being involved in a crash, especially at intersections and driveways where motorists will not expect to see you. Besides, riding on the right is the law. (You may see people with smaller children riding on the sidewalk. If you are one of those persons, be considerate of pedestrians and remember that they have the right-of-way on these walkways.)
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Always yield to overtaking traffic; then signal before turning or changing lanes. If a motorist slows to allow you the right-of-way as a courtesy, make eye contact with the driver and signal that you understand that the driver gave you the right-of-way.
  • Ride single file unless traffic allows you to ride two abreast. Do not ride two abreast on Gulf Boulevard.
  • Yield to other vehicles and pedestrians when traffic law requires that you do so.
  • Be highly visible. Wear light, bright-colored clothing in daylight. At dusk and when it is dark, use a bright white headlight and a red rear reflector. Lights at night are the law. To make yourself even more visible at night, use additional reflectors on your bicycle (e.g., pedal reflectors) and wear reflective material.
  • Look behind you before turning or changing lanes. If you use a mirror, look back too; you might miss an overtaking vehicle in your mirror.
  • Maintain your bicycle regularly so it is safe and dependable. If your bike is a rental, make sure it is in good riding condition before starting out.
  • Carry all cargo on a rack, in bike bags, or in panniers. A backpack may also be used for light loads, but make sure the straps are tight so that the bag does not flop around while riding. Do not hang packages off the handlebars or carry them in your lap.
  • Watch out for road hazards such as rocks, potholes, gravel, sand, sewer grates, and animals.
  • When crossing bridges, obey the posted instructions to walk your bike across the span. The bridge grating on the drawbridges can be slick when damp.
  • Wear your helmet!
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