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SAFE CYCLING PRACTICES

This section covers specific skills and practices that increase the overall level of safety while riding individually or in a group.

1.  Ride in bike lanes when available

  • If clear, move into the road when the bike lane contains hazards
  • If clear, move into the road to pass another bike
  • Ride two abreast if desired when bike lane permits, and quickly get into single file as needed

2.  Ride as far to the right on roads as practicable

  • Ride on a road's shoulder when adequately wide and safe
  • Ride two abreast if desired when the shoulder width permits, and quickly get into single file as needed
  • If clear, move left as required to avoid hazards
  • If clear, move left to pass another vehicle/bicycle
  • Control the lane when it would be dangerous to be passed
  • Control the lane to make a left turn
  • Move left to avoid a right turn conflict – prevent cars from turning right in your path of travel
  • Control the lane as desired if you are moving at the normal speed of traffic
  • Ride two abreast if desired on roads with light traffic, and quickly get into single file as needed

3.  Obey traffic laws—bicycles are legal vehicles

  • Always ride on the right side of the road—ride with traffic
  • Stop at red lights
  • Honor all right-of-ways at intersections—vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians

4.  Call out approaching vehicles: "Car Up;" "Car Back"

    • Move right as practicable to permit vehicles to pass
    • Move into single file as quickly as possible if riding two abreast

5.  Use hand signals and reinforce verbally

    • Hand down and call out "Slowing" or "Stopping"
    • Point left or right and call out "Turning"
    • Point to obstacles in the road and call out "Glass," "Hole," "Bump," etc.
    • Repeat signals you receive for riders behind you

6.  Pass other bicycles and pedestrians on the left and call out "On Your Left", or use a bike bell

7.  Be Predictable—no sudden moves

    • Hold your line and speed
    • Look and hand signal before making changes

8.  Be alert and aware - continuously scan your surroundings

    • Look through/beyond the riders ahead of you
    • Use a rear view mirror to see riders and vehicles behind you
    • Maintain enough space around yourself so you can respond to the unexpected
    • Never overlap your front wheel with the back wheel of the rider ahead
    • Anticipate potential problems
    • Assume you are invisible
    • Use bike lights
    • Wear bright or light colors
    • Make eye contact with drivers

9.  Leave the road or bike lane completely when stopping

10.  Be prepared. 

Read Club Rides and Rider Responsibilities to understand fully what to bring and how to participate in club rides.

11.  Be courteous at all times and acknowledge courteous behavior

12.  Encourage others to follow the Club's Rider Responsibilities, especially by attitude and example.

13.  Use clear hand signals.   The appropriate signals to use are as follows:

Although the CVC states that a right turn can be indicated in 2 ways, the straight right arm extended is the preferred method because it is a more obvious signal to understand, and it safer for the rider to execute.

14.  Remember to ride S - M - A - R - T:

          Stay alert - Watch out for cars, other riders, and hazards. Momentary inattention is the number one cause of accidents.

Move off the road when stopping. Pull completely off the road or trail to let cars and riders pass; do not block active driveways or intersections.

          Adhere to all traffic laws. 

          Retain space between yourself and others. Leave enough room to dodge obstacles and to respond safely to others.

          Tell others when passing and pass on the left. Call out hazards and when you hear “Car back!”, single up quickly.

For more information on Riding Confidently, Legally, and Safely, please obtain a copy and review “California Bicycling Street Smarts” from the club or the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.

Group Riding

Best practices for group riding are based on the preceding "Safe Cycling" with additions and elaborations unique to riding in groups.

1.  Never do anything suddenly or without warning

    • Ride in a straight line at a consistent and predictable pace
    • Always give plenty of warning if you are going to change pace or position
    • Make sure you are clear of other riders before you stop
2.  Give yourself a safe space relative to other riders
    • Ride far enough behind to provide appropriate reaction time
    • Ride off center of the rider in front to provide a sightline and escape route
3.  Constantly maintain situation awareness
    • Look over and through the riders in front of you - anticipate and ride proactively instead of reactively
    • If you talk, skip the eye contact; keep your eyes ahead
    • Back off from the rider ahead when approaching a transition (intersections, traffic, turns, etc.)
    • Give erratic riders extra space
4.  Call out "On Your Left" or ring your bell when passing other group members
    • Communicate by voice and gesture to increase group safety
    • Move to the back of the group to drink water, spit or blow your nose
5.  When in the front, you are responsible for the safety and cohesion of the group behind you
    • Keep your head up at all times
    • Do not talk with others while in the front
    • Gesture and shout out warnings in time for those behind you to respond and pass on the signal
    • Anticipate stoplight changes to get the entire group through the intersection safely
    • Slow the pace at transitions (stops signs, turns, etc.) to maintain group cohesiveness

Good resources:

 


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