News & Updates
Bicycle Safety Tips for Cyclists Deborah Nelson+ July 6, 2016

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 677 cyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2011.  All of these deaths were preventable.  Although cyclists cannot control what vehicle drivers do when approaching cyclists, there are many things cyclists can (and should) do to decrease the possibility of being killed or injured:

  1. Always wear a helmet.

    This rule applies regardless of the type of bike, cyclist or terrain.  It increases your visibility and lessens the likelihood of traumatic brain injury.

  2. Always follow the traffic laws.

    Bicyclists are required by law to follow the same traffic laws as vehicles. This means you must stop at traffic lights and stop signs, yield to other vehicles when necessary, and signal before you turn. Some cyclists give others a bad name by refusing to follow traffic laws– don’t be one of them.

  3. Never wear headphones. 

    Headphones create needless distractions that keep you from hearing approaching traffic and focusing on your surroundings.

  4. Wear bright and/or reflective clothing. 

    It makes it easier for motorists to see you, even during daylight.

  5. Use flashing lights and reflectors. 

    Use a flashing white light on the handlebars and a flashing red or white light on the back of the bike. This makes you more visible to drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists. Use these both during the daylight and at night.

  6. Make eye contact with motorists.

    When approaching a crosswalk or intersection, it is tempting to try to dart across the street before a nearby car approaches or to assume that the car approaching sees you. Don’t do it! Instead, wait until the car comes to a stop; make eye contact with the driver (or wave or nod) before crossing in front of the driver (after you have confirmed they are waiting for you).  As you cross, wave or say “thank you.”  After all, you want to be one of those cyclists who give others a good name!

  7. Watch out for hazards on the road surface.

    Potholes, cracks in pavement and debris on the road generally don’t pose a danger for motorists. For cyclists, however, they can prove fatal. Watch out for these hazards and alert your fellow cyclists to them by shouting out hazard warnings.

  8. Watch out for car doors and reversing cars. 

    Far too many cyclists are injured by cars backing up out of parking spaces and car doors being opened next to lanes of travel. As you approach parked (or parking) cars, watch for movement, taillights and people in the cars. Do not assume they can see you-– all cars have blind spots and many motorists are not even aware that cyclists may be approaching. Use caution and shout out hazards.

  9. Be prepared. 

    Even if you are going out for a short ride, be certain to have sufficient water, food, money, identification, emergency contact information, your health insurance card and repair tools with you. Don’t assume that every ride will be a smooth easy one.

  10. Be considerate of your fellow cyclists. 

    Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. If you are passing another cyclist or a pedestrian, always do it on the left AND always announce yourself and leave plenty of room when passing (“two passing on the left”), if you see hazards, let your fellow cyclists know (“car up” “hole right”), if you see a cyclist by the side of the road, ask them if they need assistance.

Bicycling should be a joyful activity whether you are commuting, exercising, or training for an event. Exercising caution will make your ride more enjoyable, safer, and less stressful for those around you.

For more information on riding safety, training and organized rides, check out these websites:

Cascade Bicycle Club –

Bicycle Alliance of Washington –

Team in Training –