Wearing a properly fitted helmet isn’t the only precaution bicyclists should take when riding.
Before hitting the road on your bike, keep in mind the following safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
See and be seen
No matter the time of day, you need to be seen by others. Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible.
Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings or flashing lights.
Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
Go with the flow
Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the traffic flow — not against it.
Obey all traffic laws
A bicycle is a vehicle and you’re the driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
Yield to traffic when appropriate
Almost always, riders on a smaller road must yield for traffic on a major or larger road.
If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), you must slow down and look to see if the way is clear before proceeding.
This also means yielding to pedestrians who have already entered a crosswalk.
Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others using appropriate hand signals.
Stay alert at all times
Use your eyes and ears.
Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike.
You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations, so don’t wear ear buds or headphones when you ride.
Look before turning
When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic and then signal well before making the turn.
Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.
Watch for parked cars
Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked vehicles, such as doors opening or cars pulling out.
According to Army Regulation 385-10, when bicycling on Department of Defense installation roadways during hours of darkness or reduced visibility, bicycles will be equipped with operable head and taillights, and the bicyclist will wear a reflective upper outer garment.
For more information about bicycle helmets and state laws, visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute website at www.helmets.org.