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Health & Wellness

Bike Safety 101

By Lafayette General Health
May 11, 2020

May is Trauma Awareness Month. We'll be sharing safety tips for outdoor activities that are go with summer and sunshine. First up, bike safety!


Following the rules of the road ensures you stay safe while on your bike. Here are a few tips and general guidelines to help you learn what your rights are as a cyclist and keep you free from injury.


Hand Signals

Communicating your intentions not only makes your ride safer, but it is also required by law. When turning, slowing or stopping, use the following hand signals to state your intent to drivers and other cyclists. Be sure to provide ample time before completing the action to ensure cars and bikes behind you can safely react!


Left Turn: Fully extend your left arm out to the side

Right Turn: Fully extend your right arm out to the side or bend your left arm up at a right angle with your hand flat

Slowing or Stopping: Extend your left arm out at a right angle with your hand open


Ride on the Right

In the United States, everyone must drive on the right-hand side of the roadway. That includes cyclists!


Yielding to Crossing Traffic

When approaching an intersection, if you don’t have the right of way, you must yield. Pay special attention to motorists who are turning, especially if you are going straight through an intersection.


Yielding when Changing Lanes

If you want to change lanes, yield to traffic that is in the desired lane of travel.


Speed Positioning

The slowest vehicles on the road should be the furthest to the right. Where you position yourself on the road depends on the location of any parked cars, speed and your destination. Always pass on the left.


Lane Positioning

Bikes can share the same lane with other drivers. If a lane is wide enough to share with another vehicle (about 14 feet), ride three feet to the right of traffic. If the lane is not wide enough to share, “take the lane” by riding in the middle.


Intersection positioning

When there is a lane that is used for more than one direction, use the rightmost lane going in the direction you are traveling.


Follow all street signs, signals and markings

While you’re not driving a car, as a cyclist you’re responsible for following all rules of the road as if you were! That includes one-way streets, not completing right turns at traffic lights where prohibited and all special regulations as marked.


By practicing proper cycling etiquette, just like being a good driver, you’ll improve your chances of getting to your destination safe and sound and avoid a major injury.