Whether you are an experienced cyclist or just a casual rider, you should know the rules of the road before you hop on the saddle to protect yourself from the cars and trucks that share the lanes with you. When it comes to dedicated bike paths and trails, however, there are guidelines that are as much about being safe as they are about being polite. These dos and dont’s tips for good bike manners can make cycling more pleasant for everyone, on and off the bike.
Don’t Be a Hog
Unless you are on a path that is designated for cycling only, you are probably going to share with runners, walkers, dogs, strollers, and anyone else who wants to enjoy some fresh air and movement. Be respectful of other people and share the space. As the saying goes, wheels yield to heels.
Do Pull Off
When you and your pals are out on your cruisers or hybrid bikes, you may stop to make a repair, get a sip of water, or enjoy the view, and that’s fine. Just don’t stop on the middle of a path; instead, get over to the side or off the trail, if possible, to get out of the way of other people. You don’t want to be a speed bump!
Don’t Go For Time
If you are training for a race, you should scope out the road least travelled to go for your personal best. Otherwise, slow down. A fast pace on bikes for men and women can exceed thirty miles an hour, and if you hit an object or a person, you are going to be in a world of hurt. If you are on a crowded bike path, use some common sense and exercise caution.
Do Obey the Signs
Traffic and trail signs are there for a reason: public safety. That’s why you should pay attention to them. The signs could include potential hazards or maximum speeds, and it’s best to follow their instructions to keep you and others safe.
Don’t Ride Right
Just like when you drive a car, you should pass others on the left to be courteous. Imagine how frightening it could be for pedestrians if some speed demon came barreling down the trail, weaving in and out of people. Accidents do happen, and you can’t anticipate what someone else may do, so stick to the left for passing and the right for a steady or slower pace.
Do Make Some Noise
Most bikes are quiet, and when you come up from behind, your presence may not be so obvious. Give a courteous warning to others as you approach, such as ringing a bike bell or announcing that you are passing on the left. You can find cute retro bicycle bells at most places where you see mens and womens bikes for sale.
These rules of biking etiquette aren’t difficult to remember or cost you anything, but they can go a long way towards keeping you and others safe. Just remember that if you treat other people the way you would like to be treated, even on a bike path or trail, the world can be a better place for everybody.