Bike Safety

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Tips for Safe and Enjoyable Bicycling

Follow lane markings.
Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked right-turn only.

Obey traffic signs and signals.
You are required by law to obey traffic regulations. If you violate traffic regulations you are subject to citation.

Share the path with other users.
All users have an equal right to use the trail: joggers, people in wheelchairs, skateboarders, rollerbladers and pets. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians when riding on the sidewalk.

Use hand signals.
Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy, and self protection.

Scan the road behind.
Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.

Watch your speed.
There is now a 15 MPH speed limit on all East Bay Regional Park District Trails in Lafayette. Do not cut corners. Respect your safety and others, ride at reasonable speeds.

Approach the end of trails with caution.
Stop and yield to vehicles. Be aware of bollards (posts), fencing, signs and gates at the trail's end.

Ride with traffic on sidewalks and roads.
When riding on sidewalks or roads, ride in the direction of the street traffic to help reduce your risk of accidents. Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road.

Stay to the right; pass on the left.
Motorists and other cyclists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.

Ride a well equipped bike.
Be sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly. Always use a strong headlight and taillight at night or when visibility is poor. Install reflectors and consider a bell or horn.

Choose the best way to turn left.
There are two ways to make a left turn: a) Like an auto: Signal, move into the left lane, and turn left. b) Like a pedestrian: Ride in the right lane straight to the far-side crosswalk, and then walk your bike across the street in the crosswalk.

Ride in the middle of the lane in slow traffic.
Use the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.

Use a bell when passing.
Give plenty of warning when passing and yield to pedestrians. Many cyclists say, "On your left," to alert others.

Wear proper attire.
An appropriate outfit includes a helmet, shoes and a strap, clip or rubber band to keep pant cuffs out of the chain. State law requires bicyclists under age 18 to wear helmets.

Pull completely off the trail when stopping.
Approaching vehicles and bicyclists may not recognize that you have stopped.

Watch for chasing dogs.
Ignore them, or try a firm, loud "NO". If the dog doesn't stop, dismount your bike between you and the dog. Spinning wheels and feet attract dogs.

Ride in a straight line.
Whenever possible, ride in a straight line, to the right of traffic, but about a car door's width away from parked cars. Don't weave between parked cars.

Ride one person per seat.
Do not "pack" others on your bike unless you have a seat for them.

Keep both hands ready to brake.
You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.

Avoid road hazards.
Watch for parallel slat sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel and ice. Cross railroad tracks carefully at right angles.

Focus on riding.
Always be aware of surrounding activities. Cycling requires full-time concentration. In California, it is illegal as well as very unsafe to wear headphones while riding a bicycle.

Watch for cars pulling out.
Make eye contact with drivers. Assume they don't see you until you are sure they do. Look ahead for opening car doors.

Educate young riders to hazards.
A variety of age groups ride bikes; however, younger riders (10 to 14 year-olds) account for the highest number of bicycle accidents.

Beware of high accident times.
Warmer months bring nicer weather to bicycle, but also an increase in bike accidents. All year round, more accidents occur during the morning and evening commute hours.


In Case of an Accident

First, render aid.

On a roadway, if someone is hurt or major damage to a vehicle or property occurs, you must contact the police and file a police report.

If the accident requires contacting the police, leave the vehicles as they are until an officer arrives to investigate. *

Exchange information, even when a police report is not required. Get the name, address, phone number, driver's license number, insurance company and license plate number. Obtain contact information from witnesses.

* If a minor accident occurs and no one is hurt, move the vehicles to a safe location out of the vehicle travel lanes.