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Sharing the Road: Essential Safety Tips for Bicycles and Cars

Woman on a bicycle riding on campus with a car next to her

Wherever you're riding a bicycle during UCLA Bike Month, safety should always be the top priority. But cyclists shouldn't be the only ones looking out for their own safety, as drivers also have a role in responsibly sharing the road. Whether you're on two wheels or four, here are important safety tips from the League of American Bicyclists.

Tips for Cyclists

  • Always ride to the right with the flow of traffic and never on the sidewalk.
  • Make sure a lane is clear before moving into it, and always use signals to indicate your intention to change your position.
  • Always ride in a straight line and do not swerve between parked cars.
  • Wear bright clothing and use a bike light after dark.
  • Make sure you wear a helmet that’s fit and adjusted. Improperly wearing a bike helmet is like not wearing one at all.
  • Use the ABC Quick Check method to perform routine bike maintenance.

Tips for Drivers

  • Use caution when opening your car door – look over your shoulder closest to the door and check your rear view and side mirrors.
  • Consider using the Dutch Reach – opening the door with your right hand so you’re forced to look behind when getting out of the car.
  • Slow down and pass with caution. Remember that speed limits are maximums, not minimums, and 20 mph is plenty in most urban areas.
  • If a cyclist is riding in the middle of a lane, do not try to pass unless you can put at least five feet of space or more between your car and the cyclist.
  • Cars should not cross into the solid line of a bike lane. When entering the dashed line of a bike lane to turn, look behind you to make sure it’s clear to enter.

Visit the League of American Bicyclists website for more safety tips and videos for both cyclists and drivers.