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Bike Safety

Basic Bike Safety Videos

Treating Stop Signs as Yield Signs Video

Most bike riders treat stop signs as yield signs in all but the highest traffic areas. The following video describes Idaho's rules for bikes at stop signs and stop lights. It provides an excellent description of how to safely treat a stop sign as a yield sign. Although, treating stop signs as yield signs is illegal in most states and may earn you a citation, the video provides the correct and safe use of yield signs for both cars and bikes.

Bike Safety Resources

A very comprehensive presentation of bike safety can be found at the Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally and Safely website.

How to Not Get Hit by Cars is a web page that shows ways you can get hit and how to avoid them.

Bike SLO County offers free Bike Ed Workshops that can build a cyclist's knowledge and confidence for riding on both streets and bike trails.

Bicycle Law in California is a Wikipedia web page that identifies and describes the sections of the California vehicle code that are especially relevant to bicyclists, explaining the relevancy as appropriate.

Sharing the Road (FFDL 37) - Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Motorists is a California Department of Motor Vehicles web page that provides recommendations based on the California Vehicle Code.

Cycling attorney Bob Mionske's website provides an excellent resource for legal issues related to bicycling as well as links to other bike safety resources including a YouTube video series.

Bike Accidents: What to Do After the Crash is a web page by attorney Bob Mionske that describes what you should do in the event of an accident with a vehicle.

Road Rights—How to Handle Bike-Car Accidents is a web page by attorney Bob Mionske that identifies things you should consider when trying to decide how to handle issues arising from an accident.

Safe Cycling Best Practices

Following Safe Cycling Best Practices at all times makes riding safer and more enjoyable.

  1. Ride in bike lanes when available
    • If clear, move into the road when the bike lane contains hazards
    • If clear, move into the road to pass another bike
    • Ride two abreast if desired when bike lane width permits
  2. Ride as far to the right on roads as practicable
    • Ride on a road's shoulder when adequately wide and safe
    • Ride two abreast if desired when the shoulder width permits
    • If clear, move left as required to avoid hazards
    • If clear, move left to pass another vehicle/bicycle
    • Control the lane when it would be dangerous to be passed
    • Control the lane to make a left turn
    • Move left to avoid a right turn conflict—create a diverging not crossing condition
    • Control the lane as desired if you are moving at the normal speed of traffic
    • Ride two abreast if desired on roads with light or intermittent traffic
  3. Obey traffic laws—Bicycles are legal vehicles
    • Always ride on the right side of the road—ride with traffic
    • Always stop at red lights
    • Always honor all right-of-ways at intersections—vehicles, bicycles and people
    • Stop at stop signs or, if you choose, slow and treat Stop signs as Yield signs making sure to honor all right-of-ways (a safe practice but illegal in most states).
  4. Call out approaching vehicles: "Car Up;" "Car Back"
    • Move right as practicable to permit vehicles to pass
    • If riding two abreast, move into single file to permit vehicles to pass: left (inside) accelerates and right (outside) rider slows slightly to create gap for left rider
  5. Use hand signals and reinforce verbally
    • Hand down and call out "Slowing" or "Stopping"
    • Point left or right and call out "Turning"
    • Point to obstacles in the road and call out "Glass," "Hole," "Bump," etc.
    • Repeat signals you receive for riders behind you
  6. Pass other bicycles and pedestrians on the left and call out "On Your Left"
  7. Be Predictable—no sudden moves
    • Hold your line and speed
    • Look and hand signal before making changes
  8. Be Alert and Aware—Continuously scan your surroundings
    • Look through/beyond the riders ahead of you
    • Use a rear view mirror to see riders and vehicles behind you
    • Maintain enough space around yourself so you can respond to the unexpected
    • Never overlap your front wheel with the back wheel of the rider ahead
    • Anticipate potential problems
  9. Be Visible—Assume you are invisible
    • Use bike lights
    • Wear bright or light colors
    • Make eye contact with drivers
  10. Leave the road or bike lane completely when stopping—don't hinder the progress of other cyclists or vehicles
  11. No one lost or left behind during group rides—take care of each other
    (See “No One Left Behind Best Practices")
    • Keep the rider behind you in sight—the next-to-last rider is the last rider's buddy
    • Wait or return for riders lost from sight
    • Communicate problems to other riders: e.g., call out "Flat"
    • Stay with a rider that has to stop
  12. Be courteous at all times and acknowledge courteous behavior
  13. Encourage others to follow "Safe Cycling Best Practices

No One Left Behind Best Practices

Nothing feels worst than having a problem or not knowing the route and realizing that no one is in sight.
Nothing feels better than seeing riders return to find you or waiting for you when you round a bend.

The following techniques can be used separately or in combination to insure that no one on a group ride is lost or left behind.


Establish locations or distances to points where the group will stop and wait for everyone to arrive. Consider the following in establishing regroup points:

Proceed once everyone has arrived and allowed time to recover.

When appropriate, send two riders back to find those missing so one can stay and the other can report back to the group.


A rider providing sweep should know the route and always keep the slowest rider in sight.

One approach is for the ride leader to be the sweep—to lead from behind.


Buddies stay together—within sight—throughout a ride. There are three approaches to implementing buddies: