Whether you have just started cycling or you have been doing it for a while, it is essential that you know the rules of the road for your own safety, and that of other road users. Not following the rules gives other cyclists a bad name, and pushes the stereotype that cyclists are selfish and careless. Some of the rules of the road that cyclists should know are as follows.
Think Like a Driver
Once you are on your bike, you should imagine you are in a car and obey all the traffic rules. Even though cyclists enjoy the right of the road, it does not mean they should ignore traffic lights and the rules of overtaking. Being on a bicycle does not automatically absolve riders from traffic rules.
Wear Visible Clothing
It is mandatory for cyclists to wear brightly coloured clothes when on the road to make them visible for other road users. If you are riding in the dark, make sure your bicycle is well lit and coloured, so that you are seen from a distance. Never underestimate the value of a reflector jacket when it comes to responsible road use. It can sometimes be the thing which saves you from being knocked over.
Go the Same Direction as the Flow of Traffic
It is a universal rule that when you are cycling, you should be in the same direction as the flow of traffic. Do not go in the opposite direction, as you may meet an oncoming vehicle.
Use Hand Signals
If you are riding, you should be able to free your hand and give a signal to road users to show your intention. If you want to stop, turn or make a sudden movement, your hands should be able to convey the message effectively. This is how cyclists can avoid collisions and misunderstandings with other road users.
Know When to Let Other Users Pass
This is important for cyclists who are using popular bike routes. If you are a beginner, you should be on the extreme end of the right side so that other users can have sufficient room to pass you. If you are riding behind someone and you need to pass them, pull up right behind them and loudly state that you want to pass. The words “on your left” are sometimes enough to let them know of your intention.
Understand the Road Rules of the State and City
Road rules differ depending on state laws. Before you start cycling in a place, especially if you have just moved in, it is essential to understand the rules, so that you do not get into trouble. Know what the rules say about wearing helmets, which side cyclists are expected to be, bicycle lane use, and riding under the influence of alcohol.