cyclists on the road

Bicycle Safety

Whether you’re commuting to work, enjoying a leisurely ride around the neighborhood or teaching your child to ride, bike safety is important for everyone to know. The Virginia DMV provides a great guide to help keep everyone safe while enjoying a bike ride.

(Safety Information from Virginia DMV)

Bicycle Rules of the Road

Bicycles are subject to the same laws as motor vehicles. When passing a bicyclist, motor vehicles must proceed at a reasonable speed and travel at least three feet to the left of the overtaken bicycle. Riders should practice safe and legal bike operation:

  • Ride with traffic.
  • Stop and look both ways before entering the street.
  • Stop at all intersections.
  • Before turning, use hand signals and look all ways.
  • Ride defensively – anticipate the actions of other road users and watch for road hazards.
  • Pass vehicles with extreme care – turning vehicles may not see you.
  • Be aware of motor vehicle blind spots while riding or when stopped at an intersection.
  • Walk your bicycle when you get into traffic situations beyond your cycling abilities.
  • Exercise great caution when riding in bus traffic – watch out for buses pulling to and from curbs and passengers getting on and off buses.
  • Park your bicycle so you do not block sidewalks, disabled accesses, building accesses or emergency lanes.

Dress for Safety

Stay safe by making sure that you are visible to motorists:

  • Wear a helmet, wear bright colored clothing, and secure loose pant legs.
  • Maximize your visibility at night – wear reflective clothing and apply reflective tape to your bicycle.

Parent Information

Learning to ride a bicycle is an exciting accomplishment for a child. Making sure that riding is a safe and enjoyable experience for your child is important:

  • Provide your children with helmets approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Teach them to wear the helmets correctly on every ride.
  • Ensure young children are properly supervised and never allow them to ride their bicycle in the street.
  • The decision to allow older children to ride in the street should depend on traffic patterns, individual maturity, and an adequate knowledge and ability to follow bicycle rules.
  • Your children should never ride at dusk or in the dark.
  • Teach your children how to keep their bikes in good repair, and to check the tires, brakes, and seat and handlebar height annually.