Bicycle Safety Tips
- Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws. Bicycles must obey the rules of the road, and be driven like motor vehicles, if they are to be taken seriously by motorists.
- Never ride against traffic. Motorists are not looking for and do not expect bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. Ride with traffic to avoid potential accidents; wrong-way cyclists are much more likely to be in a crash than cyclists riding with traffic.
- Use hand signals. Hand signals let motorists know what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy, and self-protection.
- Follow lane markings. Don't turn left from the right lane, and don't ride straight through in a lane marked right turn only.
- Ride in a straight line. Ride in a straight line, to the right of faster-moving traffic but a car door width away from parked cars. If the lane is too narrow to safely share with vehicles, it's safe and legal to occupy the full traffic lane. When using a street with shared lane markings, like South San Francisco Street, align your wheels with the arrows and the center of the bicycle emblem.
- Don't weave between parked cars. Don't veer over to the curb between parked cars. Motorists may not see you when you try to move back into traffic.
- Position yourself correctly. When riding slower than traffic, ride as far right as is practical and safe. You may move left into the vehicle lane to make a left turn, to avoid hazards, if you are traveling at the same speed as traffic, or if the lane is too narrow to allow a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side.
- There are two ways to make a left turn. As a vehicle; look back, signal, move into the left lane, and turn left. As a pedestrian; ride straight to the far-side crosswalk, then dismount and walk your bike across.
- Be alert on Flagstaff Urban Trails (FUTS) trails. Pedestrians have the right-of-way on FUTS trails. Give them an audible warning (call out, ring a bell) when you pass. Slow down to cross driveways and intersections, and look for traffic turning across your path.
- Walk your bike on downtown Flagstaff sidewalks. By law, bicycles are not allowed to ride on sidewalks where posted in downtown Flagstaff.
- Avoid sidewalks; ride in the street. Ride on the sidewalk only when you have to, and if you do be courteous of pedestrians. Walk your bike on busy sidewalks if you are uncomfortable riding in the traffic lane. Although it is legal to ride on sidewalks in Flagstaff (unless posted otherwise, like downtown) it is often safer to use the street. Motorists crossing the sidewalk on a driveway or side street may not be looking for bicycles.
- Watch for cars pulling out from side streets and driveways. Make eye contact with drivers. Assume that they do not see you until you are sure they do.
- Avoid road hazards. Watch out for sewer grates, manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel, cinders, and ice. Cross railroad tracks at a right angle. For better control, stand up on your pedals as you move across hazards.
- Ride with both hands ready to brake. Ride with your hands near the brakes so you can react quickly to traffic and road hazards. Allow extra distance for stopping when your tires are wet.
- Negotiate with drivers. Make eye contact with motorists, and communicate through hand signals and body language so they know what you intend to do.
- Use lights at night. Front reflectors are not adequate. City code requires a strong headlight (visible from at least 500 feet) and a red reflector or red taillight on the back when riding at night.
- Dress accordingly. Wear light-colored clothing at night, and bright clothes in the rain or when visibility is poor. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to temperature changes.
- Lock your bike. Invest in a good locking system; no lock is as expensive as a new bike.
- Always wear a helmet! Protect your head. You're worth it!