California Department of Transportation District 1
 

Bicycle Commuting and Safety

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Bicycle commuters Bicycle commuters on Route 101 between Eureka and Arcata in Humboldt County

What has two wheels, improves mobility and air quality, reduces traffic congestion and parking demand, saves energy, and promotes healthy living through enjoyable exercise? Sound too good to be true? Planners, engineers, policymakers, and cyclists recognize these as benefits of bicycle commuting.

Equipping Your Bicycle for Commuting

  1. Make sure your bicycle is properly sized and adjusted.
  2. Use a white headlamp and a red rear reflector for night riding.
  3. A rack over the rear wheel is convenient for carrying items such as books, a briefcase, or clothing.
  4. Carry a basic tool kit, tire patch kit and tire pump for those unexpected roadside repairs.

Bicycle Safety Guidelines

  • Wear a bicycle helmet. It is the law for persons under 18 years of age.
  • Ride with the traffic flow.
  • Ride in a straight line.
  • Ride to the right if you are moving slower than other traffic, unless you are turning left, passing another bicycle or vehicle, or avoiding hazards.
  • Stop at stop signs and red lights.
  • Use a light, reflectors and reflective clothing during darkness.
  • Wear bright clothing during the daytime.
  • Ride to the right if you are moving slower than other traffic, unless you are turning left, passing another bicycle or vehicle, or avoiding hazards.
  • Keep a safe distance from parked cars.
  • Use proper hand signals when turning, stopping or changing lanes.
  • Use extra caution when it is raining, and allow extra time to stop.
  • Cross railroad tracks at a right angle.
  • Walk your bike when using a crosswalk.
  • Do not wear headphones on both ears while riding.
  • Keep your bike properly maintained so it is safe.
  • Do not drink and ride.
  • Ride defensively.
  • Use hand signals.
  • Be alert for road hazards.
  • Watch for cars at cross streets and driveways.
  • Obey all traffic signals.
  • Use lights at night.
  • Keep your bike in good condition.
  • Ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic. Keep right where practicable to allow vehicles to pass.
  • Be aware of parked cars and watch for car doors that may open.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way.

Further information about bicycle safety can be found at the Department of Motor Vehicles' California Driver Handbook

Arrive Alive
Watch videos and see other traffic safety tips.