bike signFor various reasons and in various ways, more and more people are taking to cycling. This is very good news for the cycling community at large, as it will lead to eventual increases in safety and awareness. It is also good for our communities and our planet, reducing emissions and traffic. Unfortunately this is also leading to an increase in bike related accidents. Drivers often complain about cyclists clogging the road and disregarding traffic laws. Whether you have been a cyclist your whole life or have recently become part of the two wheeled fellowship, it falls to us to take action to improve cycling for everyone. First and foremost because regardless of who is at fault in accidents, it is the cyclists that come off worse every time. There are some simple steps every cyclist could take to make the road safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

Become a Cycling Citizen

Learn the rules of the road. Understand that as a cyclist you are considered a vehicle in the context of most traffic laws. Anytime you are on a bike, you serve as an ambassador for cycling. Show etiquette. Stop at all stop lights and signs. Yield to the right of way. You can ride two abreast on wider roads, but when cars try to pass make sure to go single file. It is often illegal and always unsafe to ride on the sidewalk. Ride in the direction of traffic and stay as far to the right as safely possible. When traveling at the same speeds as cars, it is often safer to ride in the road with traffic making you more visible. Some states differ slightly on how cyclists are treated. Luckily we offer a free book that offers talks specifically about Utah laws, and the new edition even goes in depth on the brand new laws enacted this year. Visit to request a free copy.

Use Your Head

Wear a helmet at all times! This is the most important accessory your bike will ever have. It doesn’t matter the distance or destination of your ride. Even a fall or slide without any accident can be dangerous when you’re not wearing a helmet. When riding around cars, don’t assume other cars see you. When changing lanes or waiting at a stop sign or light, make eye contact with the drivers. This assures that they see you, and helps communicate your intent.

Pay Attention and Ride Defensively

You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Know what is behind you, to the side, and know the route you’re traveling on. Learn traffic patterns and ride down the safest roads. When riding on the shoulder, it is important to look out for both doors opening and sewer grates. Both can be dangerous and can throw you from your bike.

No Time to be Self Conscious

Visibility is one of your best allies in safety. Bright clothing and reflectors improve your chances of being seen and being respected. Use big hand signals to communicate your intent so cars know where you’re headed.