Cyclists on the Road

LAWS, SAFETY, and MAINTENENCE

As a cyclist or a driver, sharing the road is typically something both sides would prefer to avoid.

To make this whole situation a little safer, here are some reminders on proper signaling, rules of the road, safety tips and bicycle maintenance.

Rules of the Road

  • Cyclists must use the hand signals (left).
  • Riding two abreast is legal but more than two is not.
  • Cyclists are allowed to ride on the roadways.
  • One hand must be on the handlebars at all times.
  • If riding in the dark, you must have a front light that is visible from a minimum of 500 feet away and an approved red reflector attached to the seat and facing the rear, visible from up to 600 feet away, according to the City of Seattle website.

Safety Tips For Cyclists

  • Know and follow the laws applicable to where you ride.
  • Be respectful of all vehicles.
  • Stare down drivers, or at least make eye contact.
  • Keep your distance from parked cars since their doors may open.
  • Always be prepared to brake.
  • Listen for what you can’t see.

Safety Tips For Drivers

  • Stop at the white line when approaching a stop sign then creep forward. Some cyclists prefer riding on sidewalks and stopping after that white line can mean T-Boning a cyclist.
  • Give cyclists three feet of space when passing. If there’s not room to do so, wait a few moments until there is.
  • Be respectful of all vehicles.
  • Don’t text and drive.

Bicycle Maintenance

Before hopping on your bike to ride, always do what is called an “ABC Quick Check” to make sure the bike is working properly and that nothing is going to fall off while riding.

A is for air. Check the tire pressure to make sure the tires aren’t flat, otherwise they can peel off the wheel on turns. That’s not fun.

B is for brakes. Squeeze each brake lever individually to ensure they are working properly. Brake levers should not come within two stacked fingers of handlebars.

C is for chain. Give the pedals a backwards spin to see and hear if it’s running smoothly, then examine the chain. If the chain is a brownish red color (meaning rusty), pick up some chain lube and follow the directions on the bottle.

Q stands for quick release levers. These are typically at the hub of the wheel or on the seat post. Make sure all quick release levers on the bike are firmly locked in place to better guarantee that the wheels or seat won’t fall off or move.

Q also stands for quick since this should only take a matter of seconds once you’ve practiced it regularly.


By Nathan Wilford,
Staff Writer

Graphic by Kristen Clark

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