8 Tips to Bike Ride Safely

If you’re looking for a fun, low impact exercise, cycling could be for you. Before you hop on a bike, try these suggestions.

Medically reviewed in April 2022

Bike safety
Taking a bike ride is a great way to exercise. This low-impact cardio activity is a fun way to reach your aerobic activity goals. Get ready for your next cycling adventure with these safety tips.

Wear a properly fitted helmet
A helmet is absolutely crucial for a safe ride, no matter your age. Each brand of helmet will have different fit instructions and sizing, so be sure to read instructions carefully to find the one that works for you.

Check your bike
Do the breaks work? Are the tires properly inflated? Do you have reflectors on the frame of your bicycle, as well as the pedals? Does the bike fit your height? These are all things to consider before your ride.

Be seen
Most bike accidents happen at night, no matter what time of year. Try to plan any rides during the day. If you have to ride in the dark, be sure to wear reflective gear. Regardless of time of day, wearing bright clothing makes you visible to both cars and people. If it is particularly hot, clothes made out of moisture wicking material will provide some relief from heat.

Plan your route
Consider how many cars or pedestrians you may encounter on your route or if certain paths or streets will be very busy. Think about the terrain as well—will you encounter some gravel or dirt trials? If you’re an inexperienced cyclist, try sticking to paved bike paths and lanes.

Be mindful of cars and pedestrians
When riding on the road, cyclists should obey traffic laws as if they were a car. Use hand signals to alert drivers of turns. Watch out for parked vehicles too. Drivers may open doors without warning, which can knock an unsuspecting cyclist off their bike.

Limit Distractions
Don’t ride with headphones in your ears or music blaring from your phone. If you need to take a phone call or send a text, stop cycling and move off of the path. Don’t try to do either mid-ride. The more distractions you have, the greater your risk for a bike accident.

Use a bell or your voice
Any cyclist should assume pedestrians do not see or hear them approaching, especially from behind. Attach a bell to your bike or use your voice to alert anyone that you are approaching. Indicate with your voice whether you are passing on the right or left.

Don’t cycle under the influence
Cycling after a few drinks is extremely dangerous. Lock your bike up for the evening. Call a friend or use a ride-sharing app to get a car home instead.

Before starting any new activity, be sure to speak to your doctor first. They can confirm you are healthy enough for exercise.

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