The weather is warm, the road is inviting, and you're itching to hop on your bike and ride free. Well, not too free. Your bike is a lot smaller than a car, but bikers need to be aware of their rules of the road, just like anyone driving a car.
In fact, it may be more important for you to know the rules of road for bikers because that lightweight frame offers no protection in case of an accident.
When you choose a bike, there's more to think about than the color or number of gears. Your bike needs to be the right size for you, adjusted so that it's a good fit.
The DMV.ca.gov website lists four basic tips for riding your bicycle safely:
"1) Maintain control of your bicycle.
2) Protect yourself–reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet.
3) Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions.
4) Ride with traffic."
All the rules of the road in your state's driver handbook apply to bicycles as much as they do to cars. Stop signs and traffic lights apply to you on a bicycle just as much as they do when you're behind the wheel of your car.
Be vigilant when you're on the road. Don't wear headphones on your bike so you can stay fully aware of your surroundings. You may be a conscientious and courteous rider but you'll want to watch out for motorists who aren't.
Help motorists avoid accidents by indicating clearly when you are going to turn to the right or to the left.
For a right turn, your left arm should be up with bent elbow before you begin your turn. For a left turn, after you check over your shoulder for oncoming traffic, your left arm should be extended straight out.
When slowing down or stopping, your left arm should be extended downward.
When you ride your bicycle, go with the flow of traffic in the same direction. Stay on the right when riding on a two-way street but be aware that obstacles can appear on the right, like parked cars or cars turning right.
Inspect your brakes regularly. Avoid wearing pants with loose pant legs to prevent getting them caught in your bike chain. Keep shoelaces and straps from a backpack away from your chain.