Before hitting the road, every biker should learn and memorize all the bicycle road rules and biking laws to avoid any possible problem. Remember, while you’re on the road you’ll have to think about other drivers and pedestrians, and even the slightest rule break can lead to pretty serious consequences.
In this article, you’ll read about 25 bicycle road rules that will help you stay safe and have as much fun as possible without putting you and others in danger.
These are general bicycle road rules that should be applied no matter where you drive.
Follow The Direction Of Traffic
The majority of cycling is done on the roads with medium or heavy traffic, so this is probably the most important rule to know – always follow the lanes intended for a specific direction. Behave the same way you’d behave if you were driving a car. If the vehicles from your left move the same direction as you, you’re doing it right.
Respect The Lights And Signs
Once you step on the road, all the driving rules apply to you and your bike. Respect all the signs you encounter, stop at red lights, don’t go in the opposite direction in one-way streets… Same as the lanes – every traffic rule, sign, or light applies to you.
Use Bike Lanes Or Paths When Available
Most of the time you’ll have to use a regular road. However, if there is a bike lane or a bike path, make sure to use it all the way.
Check The Local Rules And Laws
If you have ever wondered, this is how to learn them. Before you plan a bike trip, take some time to read, and inform yourself about regular traffic and biking laws. Here is how to do it properly, so you don’t miss anything:
- Visit local authority websites and check the information there.
- Visit the local bike shop or bike community and ask if there is anything you should know about.
- Call the local authority center or the police station and ask about local biking rules.
- Visit or ask around a local tourist center
Pay special attention to forbidden roads, routes, and areas. This is especially important if you plan to ride through an unknown area.
Q: What Are The Laws Of Riding a Bike
A: Laws of riding a bike can differ from state to state and town to town, so it is better to check the local rules, but most of the time general traffic rules for cars apply for bikes – drive in the right lane, respect the lights, give signs…
Ask For A Map
Learning the route will make your trip way easier and more enjoyable as you won’t have to worry about additional safety aspects as you’ll be riding along the well-known route, without any issues. This is also quite useful because it will allow you to see where you could go and what’s located nearby. If you prefer to do it old-fashion, then ask for a paper map. However, many trails these days can be traced online, so GPS or even mobile phones will do the trick. Same as with the previous rule, this is especially important if you plan to go through an area you don’t know too well, or at all.
What To Wear
Choosing the right colors of the clothes will help you stay visible, no matter what conditions are outside. During the day, go with the bright colors, but once the night falls, switch to any reflective material. If you plan to bike during both, make sure you have something reflective in your backpack. If you don’t have reflective clothes, the reflective tape will do.
Safety And Other Gear
Rules and regulations can be different from place to place, and you already know that you’ll have to read and learn them if you want a stress-free ride, but some are more-less the same, no matter where you are. Among those that remain mostly the same everywhere you go are the safety equipment rules. Although there is a chance you’ll somewhere run into a specific request, here is the list of pieces of equipment you’ll need no matter the location:
- Bell or horn
- White headlight and red taillight. These are required for a night ride.
- Tested and working brakes
- Front and backside bike reflectors
Put Your Phone Away
As you drive, you tend to move fast, and even the slightest error or loss of focus and lead to pretty serious consequences. You can use your phone as a guide if you don’t have a GPS, but do your best not to use it for talking, texting, or any form or browsing through the internet. All of it can wait until you reach your destination or stop to catch a breath.
No Selfies, Either!
This is something that actually shouldn’t be even talked about but in recent years many bikers started to think it’s awesome to take a selfie as they ride. It takes a lot of focus and time to place the camera properly, take a shot, see if it is OK and repeat if needed, all of these whiles on the road. It is for the best to avoid this altogether, but if you have to take a photo while you drive, no matter what, then you could think about getting a camera that will record or take a photo in certain periods.
Avoid Using Headphones
Riding while you listen to your favorite music sounds like a great combination in theory, but in practice, it can make hearing the surrounding way more difficult so you may fail to pay attention to traffic or pedestrians. However, if you drive through the area without cars and separated from the pedestrians, you can use the headphones, but keep the volume level as low as possible, so you don’t miss anything.
If there is no bike path included on the sidewalk, then it is easier for you to avoid it completely. This way you’ll avoid dealing with pedestrians – them slowing you down or running into one.
These bicycle road rules will help you learn and understand how to behave while driving.
Keep The Straight Line
Making curves and going from side to side should be avoided. If you ride in a straight line, the vehicles that come behind and go faster than you will pass you by more easily, without colliding with you. This also helps your visibility.
Q: What Side Of The Road Do You Ride a Bike On
A: This is one of the most frequently asked questions among bike drivers, and the answer is simple – most of the time, you should stick to the right side of the road, unless you drive in a country where the traffic works in a different direction, like England.
Singal Your Movements
If you have to turn left, you’ll have to go from the right side of the road to the left side of the road. To do it properly, you’ll have to use your hands to give the signal to other drivers. This may require some time and practice to learn, but once you do, it will make your time on the road safer.
Keep The Distance
This is one of the most important rules for a safe biking trip. Every time you go through the area with a car in front of you, if you fail to keep the distance you may run into it. You should always be able to see the point where the road and the tires of the car in front of you meet. An ideal length is 4 feet or 1 bike length per every 5 miles per hour of your traveling speed. This means if you travel at the speed of 10 mph, you’ll need to go at least 2 bike lengths behind the vehicle in front.
Keep Your Eyes On The Road And Your Hands On The Wheel
No matter where you ride, something unexpected may happen that requires you to react as quickly as possible. This means you should keep your focus on the road and the surrounding, but it also means you should keep at least one of your hands on your steering wheel all the time.
Be Ready To Get Noisy
In some situations, visual signals won’t do, so you’ll have to make some noise to draw attention to you. Use your horn, a bell, a whistle or you can simply yell until you see that the other driver has seen and acknowledged you.
Watch For Side Alleys
If you get near an intersection or a driveway, slow down and take it easy. Sometimes drivers, when leaving or entering the driveway, fail to see cyclists, which leads to an accident. This can also happen if a car is coming out of an alley.
Don’t Change Your Mind Mid-Action
If you’ve decided to act, don’t change your decision after you’ve already given the signals and made your intentions clear. If you’ve made the mistake and turned where you didn’t want to, it is way better to lose a few more seconds to complete the action and then do what you have to fix the mistake, than to deal with possible injuries due to collision.
Try To Be As Predictable As Possible
The more predictable you are, the safer the ride will be for you and other drivers. This means you should avoid any sudden reactions, lane or speed changes without the need. When you have to act suddenly, do your best to do it as safely as possible.
Seek For Eye Contact
The best way to make sure you’re safe to do something is to try and make eye contact with the other driver. This way you’ll be sure you’re intentions are understood and check if everything is OK.
Q: How Can I Ride My Bike On The Street?
A: In a wide street, stick to the right side, while in a narrow street you should move to the center. If riding in a group, ride in a straight line. Don’t use your phone, make sure you’re out of other driver’s blind spots, and never let go of your handlebars completely.
Other Tips And Tricks
Here are some of the additional bicycle road rules tips and things to know.
Riding through traffic can be scary, especially if you do it on a highway or during a peak hour, but no matter what you do or where you ride, do your best to stay as confident as possible. If you show signs of insecurity, this may affect other drivers and cause them to act nervously. Respect the rules, respect the road, and respect other drivers, and they’ll pay you back the same way.
If you have to pass a vehicle, grip your handlebars firmly, lower your body, and move as far to the right as you can. Also, learning how to use gears will help.
Add A Mirror
Adding a mirror to your bike will help you keep a better track of traffic behind you. There are multiple options, so you could find the one that suits you the best and helps you maintain total control of your surrounding.
Learn How To Fix Your Bike
No matter how well you take care of your bike, sometimes it will break and you’ll have to either repair it on the spot or take it to the closest bike shop. This is why you should get a bike tool kit and take it everywhere you go, and you should also learn how to do some of the easiest repairs, like how to change a bike tire.
For a successful trip you’ll have to be in good shape, and staying hydrated will keep your body in good condition for a longer period. Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks, anything else will do.
Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun. That’s the whole point of biking.
Globo Surf Overview
Learning how to ride a bike will unlock a whole new world of adventures, but it also requires to learn some of the main bicycle road rules and biking laws so you can maximize the fun, minimize the stress and enjoy every moment on the road.