Be Predictable

  • Obey traffic laws, signals, and signs. In Minnesota, bicyclists have the same rights/duties of other vehicle drivers.
  • When entering the street from driveways, alleys, parking lots - Stop, look left, right, and then left again for any traffic. Ride only when you know it's clear.
  • At uncontrolled intersections - Stop no matter what. Look left, right, then left again, and proceed only when clear.
  • Ride with traffic on the right side of the street - never ride against traffic. It's the law.
  • Signal your turns using hand signals so other drivers know what you are doing. It's the law.
  • Tell pedestrians what you are going to do verbally ("On your left!") or by using a bell.
  • Ride as straight as possible and avoid riding around parked cars.

Be Visible

  • Wear bright, colorful clothing for daytime riding.
  • Nighttime riding is dangerous, but if you must ride at night, use a white front light and a red rear light reflector (required by law) and wear retro-reflective clothing or light-colored clothing with reflective tape.

Ride Defensively

  • Scan traffic at all times.
  • Become adept at checking over your shoulder for traffic, especially before turns.
  • Be aware of other traffic when approaching intersections and when making left turns.
  • Use caution riding over railroad tracks.
  • When turning, slow down and check the corner for manhole covers, drain grates, and gravel before the turn. Keep your inside pedal high, lean into the turn, and let the bike steer you through the turn. Don't jerk the handlebars.
  • Keep an eye on the road, watching for potholes, drain grates, and other obstacles.
  • Don't use drugs or alcohol before riding.
  • Be courteous.
  • Falling - If you start to fall, turn your bike in the direction of the fall.
  • Stopping with handbrakes - Use both brakes. When stopping in a hurry, shift your weight back so you don't flip over the handlebars.
  • Stopping with footbrakes - They won't stop you as quickly as handbrakes, so don't ride too fast or too close to anyone.

Be Good to Yourself

  • Wear a helmet at all times - it can save your life (75% of all bicycle fatalities involve head injuries).
  • A note to parents - set a good example for your kids and wear a helmet at all times.
  • Never "hitch" a ride with another vehicle.
  • Don't carry anything on your bike that prevents you from seeing, keeping hands on the handle bars, or using your brakes.

Bicycle Helmets

It's not enough to simply buy a bicycle helmet - it should be properly fitted, adjusted, and worn each time you ride. Visit the National Highway Safety Administration website to find easy steps to properly fit a bicycle helmet.

Other Resources