5BBC - New York's Five Borough Bicycle Club

Safe bicycle riding begins with YOU

Here are some of our favorite tips for a safe ride.

Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy.

Give the door "4".

  • Ride at least 4 ft. from car doors. "Dooring" is the most common cause of serious cyclist injury in NYC.

You're a vehicle. Ride like one.

  • Ride in the direction of traffic, not against it.
  • If there is a marked bike lane, use it – except as limited by doors of parked cars (see above) or other hazards.
  • Your next choice would be the right road shoulder. However, shoulders are often too narrow or have broken pavement, potholes, debris, parked cars, and opening car doors.
  • If there is no bike lane, and the road shoulder is unsafe, then you belong in a travel lane. Use the rightmost travel lane of a multilane road. Stay on the right side of the lane except on multilane roads when the lane is too narrow for you to be safely passed by a motor vehicle. In that case, "take the lane" by riding near the center of it. Also see applicable NYS traffic law.
  • At an intersection, avoid the right-turn-only lane unless you are making a right turn.

Be visible.

  • A motorist who sees you is less likely to hit you, although he is probably less concerned with your life than with his car's paint job. Riding in a lane (see above) makes you more visible than riding on the road shoulder. At night, wear bright or reflective clothing and please use lights front and rear. And if you are on a recumbent, be sure to hoist a flag.

Ride straight.

  • You present less of a hazard when your actions are predictable. Ride in as straight a line as possible, consistent with road conditions. When riding single file in a group, stay directly behind the bike in front of you.

Use bicycle hand signals.

  • The most important hand signals are left turn, right turn, and stopping. Click here for other examples and for illustrations. Note that flipping a bird is not a recommended hand signal.

Be aware of traffic regulations.

  • Observe stop signs and red lights, don't ride on the left side of a 2-way street, and ride single-file when there's only 1 travel lane going in your direction. Single-file riding is required in NJ.

Wear your helmet.

  • On your head, dummy!

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