Staying Safe on Your Bike
How do you prioritize safety when you ride a bike?
When many people think of bike safety, they think of the obvious: Wear a helmet and pay attention. And while both are excellent pieces of advice, they don’t give a complete picture of what it means to stay safe on your bike.
Bike safety happens before you ride, while you ride and after you ride. The decisions you make — from the route you choose, to the equipment you use, to the behaviors you display — can all contribute to a safer or more hazardous riding experience, for yourself and for everyone around you.
Follow these basic bike safety practices every time you ride:
- Protect your body. Wearing a bike helmet that meets CPSC standards is one of the simplest ways to increase personal safety when you ride. (And remember — for kids under 16, it’s the law.) Depending on the biking activity, it’s also smart to protect your eyes with sunglasses or goggles, and to wear fitted, full-coverage clothing as a layer of protection for your skin.
- Make yourself visible to cars, other bikes and pedestrians by using bike lights and wearing bright, reflective clothing. When riding in limited-visibility conditions, Oregon law requires you to use a bright white light in front and a red light or reflector in back. When towing a bike trailer of any kind, always use a bright safety flag.
- Bring the essentials. Wear a small pack or mount one on your bike to carry identification, a cell phone, money and a list of emergency contacts. Always carry plenty of water, and bring snacks for longer rides. You may also want to carry an extra tire tube and a flat-tire repair kit. (And make sure you know how to use it.)
- Tell someone where you’re going. Whether you leave a note for your family or shoot a text to a friend or coworker, always let someone know where you’ll be and when you expect to return.
- Follow the law. As a bicyclist, you’re required to follow Oregon road laws. That includes signaling turns, riding on the correct part of the street, using safe equipment and otherwise following safe riding practices.
ODOT Bike Survival Guide: The Bicyclist’s Survival Guide is a wonderful resource from the Oregon Department of Transportation that expounds bike safety guidelines for riders in our state.
Oregon bike laws: Before you ride, familiarize yourself with Oregon’s pedestrian, bicycle and driver laws. Knowing your rights and responsibilities can go a long way toward keeping everyone safe — and holding accountable those who endanger others.
Do you have questions about bike safety? Please email us at email@example.com, and we’ll point you in the right direction.