HAVE SAFE EQUIPMENT
When you get your bicycle out of the garage or shed, it may not be ready for you to jump on and ride. Take a few minutes to check it over. The brake cables may have rusted and become stiff; check them and oil them if they need it. Make sure the tires have the right pressure and are in good shape. Check that the wheels spin freely and do not wobble. Tighten everything; something may be loose from last year. While you are checking, adjust your seat and handle bars; you may have grown over the winter. Make sure your lights and reflectors are in good shape and are securely fastened.
WEAR A HELMET
Helmets can prevent head injuries, the primary cause of death and disabling injuries resulting from cycling accidents. They also increase rider visibility. Today there are lots of colors and styles to choose from. In Connecticut, State law requires anyone under the age of sixteen to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. It's not JUST the law, it's a good idea for EVERYONE to wear a helmet on every ride -- no matter how short. Your helmet should fit correctly and meet safety standards set by the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
The number one way to keep from being hurt in a crash is to prevent the crash. In many car-bike collisions; the driver never sees the biker. So; BE SEEN, wear bright-colored clothes. Ride where crossing, passing, and approaching drivers can see you. To make sure the driver has seen you; make eye contact. Smile and wave at drivers. At night, add reflective items to light clothes. Be sure to have head and tail lights that work and reflectors on your pedals, frame, and wheels.
To ride safely you must know what is going on around you. You should be able to see and hear clearly. Watch for cars coming out of driveways; remember, the driver might not see you. Look for car opening doors in front of you; give parked cars plenty of room. Watch for children who might run in front of you. If you carry books or packages, make sure you attach them securely. Don't let carried items interfere with you operating your bicycle or keep you from seeing or hearing all around you. Try a backpack for things you must carry.
Never wear headphones while riding. You need to hear what is going on around you. A car or truck could be right behind you. Someone could shout a warning to you. With headphones, you won't be able to hear either.
The road itself could be a problem. Potholes, litter, and storm drains are hazards to bikes. Be aware and don't let one of them ruin your fun.
Don't surprise pedestrians, drivers, or other cyclists. Learn and use hand signals before turning or stopping. Carefully check behind you before making sudden moves.
FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD
Bicycles are vehicles. Ride on the, right, with the traffic, in single file. Obey stop signs and traffic lights. Never cross a street without looking for cars. Even if you've stopped, a car driver might not, see you starting across in front of them. When in doubt, let the car go first.
Give the right-of-way, to pedestrians in crosswalks. Walk your bicycle on sidewalks whenever pedestrians are around you. Have a bell or horn to let people know you are there.
Remember the rules of safe cycling and have a fun, crash-free summer of biking.
How to Survive Road Hazards (pdf 26.3 kb)
Additional Bicycle and Pedestrian Information