How to Safely Bike on the Road

Whether you’re cycling for pleasure or errands, these tips can help keep you safe.

family of three ride bicycles wearing helmets, picture
Heads up and helmets on.
Ariel Skelley/Blend Images

Bicycles are a fun and ecofriendly mode of transport, but make sure you take the necessary precautions before you mount the saddle. Here are some pedal pointers for riding safely and responsibly.

Head up, helmet on.

Always wear a helmet and keep your eyes on the road in front of you, scanning at least a block ahead for debris, potholes, and other hazards.

See and be seen.

Stop and look left-right-left before entering a roadway or an intersection. Use appropriate hand signals, and avoid driver blind spots by staying in back of and directly behind vehicles. Equip your bike with a loud horn or bell, and don't wear headphones while cycling so you can listen for traffic around you.

Slow and with the flow.

Ride with traffic, not against it, and slowly enough that you can stop suddenly. Watch for brake lights, as well as car doors about to open, and ride far enough away to avoid a collision if one does.

Be a good citizen.

Don’t ride on the sidewalk, and do yield to pedestrians; they have the right-of-way in crosswalks and intersections.

Tune up and prepare.

A bike breakdown can be dangerous. Make sure your brakes are adjusted and tires properly inflated. Carry a spare tube or tire-patch kit.

Nighttime tips.

Wear reflective clothing, use a white headlight and red taillight, and put reflectors on the bike’s rear and front frame, pedals, and spokes.


This article was first published in July 2017 and last updated in April 2021.