Rules of the Road
The first rule of the road is to ride on the right side of the road. Always remember that a bicycle is part of traffic, so you need to be traveling in the same direction as traffic. The closer your are to the speed of traffic, the further out in the road you should ride.
Turn Signals and Turning
When riding in traffic, it is imperative that you obey all traffic signs, lights and road markings and give right of way to pedestrians. It is also important to use available turning lanes when making right or left turns. Once you have maneuvered your bike into the proper turning lane, you will have to give the appropriate hand signal. Your left hand extended straight sideways signals a left-hand turn and your left hand stretched straight up with a 90-degree bend at the elbow signals a right turn. Indicate a stop by extending your left hand down with the elbow at a right angle.
Bicycle travel is not without its risks and hazards. According to the Bike Helmet Safety Institute, "head injuries account for more than 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths." Another fact of note from the same group states that "698 bicyclists reportedly died on US roads in 2007." Fortunately, bike helmets can save lives. Cyclists should note that many cities and states requiring cyclists to wear head protection and that the number of places with regulations is increasing every year.
Blinking lights and reflectors can be installed on your bike to make you more visible to traffic. Many cyclists also opt to wear reflective clothing or blinking lights. Lights can be attached to the rear flap of your backpack or to your clothing, where it can be readily seen. These flashing lights can be purchased for around twenty dollars at most bicycle shops and they operate off a small LED battery that fits inside the light.
Cyclists who embark on cross country tours often have a red flag mounted on the frame of their bike that sticks straight up in the air and makes the bike more visible. This item is a good idea for those traveling on roads that are not frequented by bicyclists.
Article Written By Henri Bauholz
Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.