Check List of Traffic Laws, Safety, and Group Riding
Following are notes I use to cover traffic laws/safety and group riding as an introduction to my A-rides.
- Bicycles are vehicles and are covered by DMV laws and regulations as well as local ordinances; e.g., you must come to a full stop at stop signs and signals.
- Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of cars (BUT cars weigh 2000 pounds!)
- The safest way to bicycle is to do what you would do if you were driving a car. “Go with the flow.” That way you fit in with what a driver expects you to do.
- Bikes must travel as close to the right hand side of the road as is safe; i.e, open car doors. Stay within the bike lane, 1–2 feet from curb, or 4 feet from parked cars. Watch for car doors being opened, cars pulling into traffic, etc. It is OK to be in the traffic lane if passing, not safe in the bike lane, and/or making a left turn.
- Single file normally; 2 abreast if wide bike lane or very quiet street. (Watch out for local ordinances/signs; e.g., Woodside.)
- Other Considerations:
- Railroad crossings, wet pavement, cracks in pavement, rough shoulders.
- Left turn may be done as a pedestrian (crosswalk) or as a car (left hand traffic lane).
- Where best to stop at corner? Usually safest as far forward as possible even if you have to be in crosswalk. To left of right turn lane, if possible. This way cars can turn right without running through you.
- In cases where 2 or more lanes turn left and you want to turn left, take over the rightmost of the left turn lanes because that lane usually allows cars to go straight through as well as turn left.
- Most bicyclists do not come to full stop at stop signs. Every time you ride, you represent bicyclists to the motorists and help determine their attitude toward us. Furthermore tickets for not stopping can be more than $300 in some Peninsula cities. Make your own decision as to obeying traffic laws.
- Single file, few bike lengths behind next rider — watch for sudden stops.
- Be predictable, ride in straight line, avoid sudden actions — don’t surprise riders behind you.
- Signal intention to turn and to stop.
- Call out when passing — "On your left". Normally pass on left unless the circumstances dictate passing on right and the other rider is aware you are doing so; e.g., next rider is way over to the left for some reason. Groups that pass may call out “Rider right” to alert their own group.
- Do not stop suddenly in the bike lane.
- Point out glass, pot holes and other obstructions and dangers (car pulling out) but don’t overdo.
- At 4–way stop signs give cross traffic a chance to get through; e.g., 4–5 bikes cross then let a couple of cars go through.
- Watch and learn from experienced cyclists.
See also the Guide to Ride Leaders.
Last updated 6 March 2013.
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