The Ultimate Bicycle Safety Guide

Bicycle Riding & Safety

Just like the popularity of indoor cycling, enthusiasm for outdoor biking is on the rise. For some, biking is a go-to form of exercise, while for others, it may work as an effective release of stress. For kids and teens that do not have a driver’s license and driving privileges, bicycling is a great way of getting around to places like school and the gym. It is even an exciting way to explore the area where you live. Regardless of why you choose to bike, it is crucial to understand the importance of safety. Even if you are biking by yourself, it is important to keep in mind that you are not alone while biking; you are still sharing the road with a ton of drivers and pedestrians.

Unfortunately, the increase in road biking has been accompanied by an increase in many completely avoidable accidents. Sure, wearing a helmet is a good first step for precaution, but it will do absolutely nothing to prevent you from getting hit by a vehicle on the road. With that said, your goal when bicycling should be to avoid getting hit in the first place. Prevention is the smartest way to practice bike safety.

Bike riding fun should go hand in hand with bike safety. When you switch from an exercise bike at the gym to the street, keep yourself and your loved ones safe with help from this free bicycle safety guide. It includes links to the top bike safety resources for kids and adults on two wheels. Links with information for bike-friendly driving are provided as well.

Three Important Bike Skills to Master

Parents, adults, and kids alike all need to master these three important bicycle skills before hitting the road.

  1. Ride in a straight line. It may sound like common sense, but this skill is very important. When biking out in public, you are sharing the road with others, and it is your responsibility to keep within the bike lane without veering into the curb or out into the car lane.
  2. Look back without swerving. Safe bicycling involves more than just looking ahead and being alert about what is in front of you. A safe biker will be able to scan his or her surroundings without swerving and causing traffic or accidents.
  3. Stop and control bike speed. Sometimes, it can be easy to pick up speed on a bike, especially when riding downhill. A good biker will be able to stop when needed and control the speed accordingly. When going downhill, bikers should brake gently to keep from going too fast and losing control. If you’re a beginner, avoid inclines and stick to level ground.

Needless to say, we highly discourage new bikers from attempting long distances or parents allowing kids to bike without adult supervision.

Bicycle Safety Basics: Do’s and Don’t’s

Before biking, please consider the following do’s and don’t’s before hitting the road for optimal safety. You and your loved ones will be glad you did!


  • Wear a helmet properly, and other protective gear if you have them (i.e. knee pads, elbow pads, etc.). Studies have shown that using a helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85%. For best results, pick a helmet that has a snug but comfortable fit. The helmet you purchase should be designed and manufactured to meet or exceed the CPSC bicycle helmet standards.
  • Make sure your bike’s seat is adjusted properly so that it fits your body. With a foot on the pedal, the fully extended leg should have a slight bend.
  • Check to make sure all parts of the bike are working well before heading out.
    • Wheels should be straight and secure
    • Handlebars should be firmly in place and turn easily
    • If you find at any time that you are not able to stop quickly, your brakes may need to be adjusted by an experienced technician
  • Ride with traffic and keep to the right of the road.
  • Come to a full stop and look both ways at intersections and stop signs to make sure that the sidewalks are clear before proceeding.
  • Use proper hand signals for turning or stopping, especially in high traffic areas.
  • Use proper headlights and tail lights or reflectors when riding at night. In fact, when riding after dark, you should have a front lamp that gives a white light visible for at least 500 feet, along with a front white reflector. A rear red reflector/tail light should be visible for at least 300 feet.
  • If riding at night, avoid wearing black because it is a lot harder for someone to spot you. Instead, wear white or reflective colors so people can easily see you. Ideally, you will want to wear clothing that is comfortable but form-fitting to avoid it snagging or getting caught somehow on the bike and causing a hazard.
  • Walk your bike across busy streets at corners or crosswalks instead of riding because it can be risky.
  • Obey all traffic regulations, and when in doubt, stay clear and away from road/yield to drivers and other pedestrians.
  • Be sure that items in your bag are secure.
  • Be patient. Let all pedestrians, cars, and trucks go first to be safe. Remember that pedestrians always have the right of way.
  • Ride in single file if biking with others.
  • Watch for parked cars turning into traffic or car doors opening suddenly.
  • Be wary of sewer gratings, loose gravel, broken glass, nails, and potholes as this will either cause flat tires or cause you to lose control.
  • Listen to your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones and listening to music, keep one ear open to hear of any honking or emergency sounds so you can act responsibly in such situations.
  • Be focused and alert. See and be seen at all times.
  • Be predictable. Ride with care and share the road.
  • Look over your shoulder and signal before changing lanes.
  • Use bells to alert pedestrians and other bikers that you are approaching or passing.
  • Make eye-contact with and be considerate to other motorists.


  • Tailgate or ride too closely to other vehicles.
  • Show off. Instead, keep your hands on the handle bars. No showing off is worth an accident and getting injured!
  • Race, zig zag, or stunt in traffic. Save that for contained areas if you must.
  • Carry passengers or your pets. Single bikes are meant to only be ridden by one and not to hold others.
  • Carry luggages without a basket. The last thing you want happening is your belongings falling off somehow and causing an unnecessary accident.
  • Ride against traffic.
  • Hitch rides on cars or trucks.
  • Ride in the rain if you don’t have to. While it may be fun to go through the puddles, the water can make your bike brakes work improperly and thus cause hazardous accidents.
  • Blast your music if listening on headphones. In fact, avoid wearing them at all.

Protection Against Bike Theft

Unfortunately, bike theft is a common occurrence and happens on a daily basis, especially if you live in a busy area. However, it can essentially happen anywhere at any time. With that in mind, it is important to consider the following precautions to prevent thieves from stealing your bike.

  • Invest in a U-lock and always make sure your bike is securely locked, even if you will only be gone for a few minutes. This lock will allow you to secure both wheels and the frame to a stationary object such as a pole, fence, tree, or bike rack. Most bikes that are stolen are NOT locked!
  • Just because your bike is at home does not mean it is safe from theft. With that said, make sure that it is kept in a locked garage, post, tree, or other sturdy object. Do not leave it unsecured in a yard or driveway.
  • Record the serial number of your bike and keep it somewhere safe with the sales receipt and a photo of your bike.
  • Mark your bike with your or your guardian’s government ID or license number to deter would-be bike thieves from wanting to take a bike that is easily identifiable by police and then returnable to original owner.
  • Do not leave any valuables out with your bike. These are just incentives for people to steal.

More On Bicycle Safety

Accidents as a result of bicycling are steadily increasing, especially in high-traffic and metropolitan areas. Major streets are the most dangerous, of course, and the peak traffic hours are between 4 PM and 6 PM. During these times, bikers should try to avoid busy streets as much as possible if they are out biking.

Bike safety begins even before rubber meets the road. After all, proper bike maintenance is a key to trouble-free rides. This bicycle safety guide can help you keep your bike in safe riding condition. Websites below share tips about pre-riding inspections and how to fix common problems. Some topics addressed are tire inflation, brake maintenance and chain lubrication.

Knowing the rules of the road is another basic of bicycle safety. Cyclists need to behave predictably so that others who share the road, such as pedestrians and truck drivers, can make safe choices. Links in this bicycle safety guide review the hand signals that bikers should use and the bicycle laws in different US states. These links share other info about road bike safety too, such as the importance of wearing brightly colored clothing and using a bike light.

Physical protection is the third main bicycle safety issue. Most important is wearing a helmet; this can make the difference between a safe bike ride and one that ends with severe injury or death. Links in this bicycle safety guide help explain the importance of wearing a helmet and show how to wear one properly. Also covered is safety gear for the wrists and knees.

Please reference our below collection of resources to help you master bicycle safety.

Bicycle Safety Web Guide.

Read about road rules, bike maintenance, and helmet basics to ensure that you are as safe as you can be the next time you go out bike riding. The list below contains useful resources that are interactive and informative.

  • Bicycle Related Injuries – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares tips for avoiding bicycle related injuries.
  • Kids and Bicycle Safety – The National Highway Transportation Administration presents bicycle safety tips for kids.
  • Bicycle Safety – The University of Maryland Medical Center shares recommendations for bike safety.
  • Interactive Bicycle Safety – has an interactive online guide to bicycle safety with information about helmets, road rules and bike maintenance.

Bike Riding Safety Tips

Wherever you are biking, it is always important to be well aware of all the safety guidelines to make sure that you and others do not get harmed. With that said, we have compiled a handy list below of resources to help you familiarize yourself with bike safety and how to ride safely. If you are biking with your family, there is even a guide on how to bike safely together.

  • Bicycle Riding Tips – City dwellers can especially benefit from this free bike safety guide.
  • Bike Safety Tips and Statistics – This website has statistics about bike safety and suggestions about how to ride safely.
  • Bike Safety – This website has a parents’ guide to bike safety for the family.
  • Bike Safety Tips – This family health website presents recommendations about how to ride bikes safely.

Safe Bike Equipment

As mentioned earlier, bicycle helmets alone will not do anything to prevent you from getting hit by a vehicle. However, they are extremely important to wear when bicycling just to err on the safe side. Below are some helpful resources that discuss helmet effectiveness, the importance of wearing them, and how to wear one properly.

Bicycle Helmets

As mentioned earlier, bicycle helmets alone will not do anything to prevent you from getting hit by a vehicle. However, they are extremely important to wear when bicycling just to err on the safe side. Below are some helpful resources that discuss helmet effectiveness, the importance of wearing them, and how to wear one properly.

  • Bike Helmet Information – This guide from Cornell University educates readers about bike helmet importance.
  • Bike Helmets – The Berkeley Parents Network discusses bike helmets for toddlers.
  • Information on Bike Helmets – This website helps people understand helmet sizing and the importance of wearing a properly fitting helmet.
  • Helmet Laws for Bicycle Riders – Information about helmet use and the law.

Bike Safety for Kids

When taking your kids out biking, it is especially important to prioritize safety not only for yourself, but also for your loved ones. Feel free to reference the links below to get a better idea on the measures you can take to be a responsible parent, kid, and more generally speaking, biker.

Other Bicycle Safety Resources

It is always better to be safe than sorry… which is why we are providing you additional bicycle safety resources to help you familiarize with the different rules in place regarding bike safety, along with other useful facts about it, below.

  • Bicycling Information Center – The Bicycling Information Center shares resources about bicycle safety.
  • Bicycle Rules and Safety – The California DMV posts information to help all bike riders stay safe.
  • Bike Safety Education Materials – Posters, Pamphlets, Manuals and Guidebooks to be used for bicycle safety.

Indoor Cycle Training

The guide above can help prepare your mind and bike for safe outdoor rides. Preparing your body can be the job of an indoor cardio trainer. See our exercise bike reviews or list of best exercise bikes for help finding the perfect indoor bike for your training needs.

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