The California Office of Traffic Safety reported a 60% increase in bicycle accident deaths since 2010. This concerning trend makes it imperative to help bicyclists and drivers understand how to better share the road to keep everyone safe.
Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, understanding where to ride your bike safely can increase your safety. Let us delve into some key guidelines on where to ride your bike.
Adjust your position based on speed
It is important to adjust your position on the road based on your speed. If you find yourself moving slower than the surrounding traffic, stay as close to the right side of the road as possible. This allows faster-moving vehicles to pass you with ease while minimizing disruptions to the flow of traffic.
Use bicycle lanes when possible
Bicycle lanes provide a dedicated space for cyclists, offering enhanced safety and visibility. Whenever possible, take advantage of these designated lanes. In some areas, if such a lane is available, the law dictates you must use it. In California, the law requires riders to use the bike lane when available, except when making a left turn or avoiding or passing a hazard.
Ride with traffic
A cardinal rule of bicycle safety is to ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic. This ensures that you are visible to drivers and can anticipate their movements. Riding against traffic increases the chances of unexpected collisions and makes it harder for drivers to predict your actions.
Know sidewalk rules
While you may feel safer riding your bike on a sidewalk, this is not allowable in some areas. In areas where it is legal, exercise caution and be mindful of pedestrians. Keep your speed in check and yield the right of way when necessary.
Avoid restricted areas
While the road provides many opportunities for cyclists, there are some places that should be strictly avoided. Never venture onto freeways, as these high-speed routes are for motor vehicles only. Similarly, avoid crossing toll bridges on your bike, as they are also only for motorized traffic and can pose significant risks to cyclists. However, there are some toll bridges in California that riders can pass as long as they have permission from the California Department of Transportation.
Riding a bike on the road requires careful consideration of your surroundings and a commitment to safety. You cannot rely on drivers to look out for you.