It may be hard to believe, but when some of us were shown to ride a bike, the rules were different from what is being taught today. Bicycle safety has changed due to the traffic and conditions that bikers encounter daily.

Many bikers might not be sure what is safe and what is not. This confusion can be resolved by taking a bicycle safety course to learn the specific rules and laws for cyclists. This will help us stay safe while following the laws of bike riding.

Which way do we go?

In a safety course, you will be taught how to ride with the flow of traffic safely. Previously, it was acceptable to ride against traffic, so we could see the cars coming toward us. This rule caused many accidents as children may not be far enough off the road to allow the car to pass them. The driver may sideswipe the car beside them or even hit the bicycle rider while trying to make room.

Many busy roads have bike lanes. These bike lanes are alongside the vehicle lane, with the flow of traffic. A safety course will show you how to judge the distance you need to merge into traffic, turn, and stop, especially if the roadway does not have a bike lane. How far to the right do we ride? What if there isn’t enough room to pass? How do you safely navigate around parked cars and pedestrians? Are bikers allowed to ride in the center of the lane?

What else do we learn?

Here are a few things you will learn in a bicycle safety course:

  • What constitutes impeding traffic?
  • Is a bicycle considered a vehicle in your state?
  • Are you allowed to ride on the sidewalk?
  • How do you safely make a left turn?
  • What do your state laws say about wearing a helmet?
  • What lights or reflectors are you required to have, and when are you required to use them?
  • Are you supposed to ride in a single file line or can you ride two or more abreast?
  • What are the hand signals used in biking and when do you use them?
  • Do you need insurance on your bike?
  • In what position should your body be if you are turning or stopping?

Every year people are hurt by riding too close to parked cars and getting hit when the driver opens the door. People are hurt by crossing streets when they do not have the right of way. As we head intoFall and Winter, will you be riding your bike home when it is getting dark? How can you make yourself more visible? The time to learn what to do in these situations is now before you find yourself on the street or sidewalk.

Taking a bicycle safety course will help anyone who is nervous about riding their bike on the road. Traveling by bicycle is great exercise and good for the environment, but you should use caution. An accident could be costly.

Many people are choosing to ride a bike instead of taking their car. This small decision helps reduce our carbon footprint by not contributing to air pollution. Drivers must respect and watch out for bikers. You have the right to use the roads. To be safe, please consider taking a safety course.