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Bike Safety for Adults

Ready to head out on your bike? Before you do, take a look at the following safety rules and tips. Even experienced riders will find useful information to help ensure safe and enjoyable cycling throughout Orange County.

Safety rules and tips

Obey all traffic regulations

Riding predictably and following the law are the keys to safe bicycling. Knowing and using hand signals, and following the rules, helps all road users properly anticipate and react to each other.

Ride on sidewalks only if you can do so safely and carefully

By law, bicyclists in Orange County must not ride on the sidewalk with a willful disregard for safety. Pedestrians have the right of way on walkways. If you must ride on sidewalks, please do so at a walking pace. Slow down and look very carefully for traffic at driveways or intersections.

Ride in a straight line

Avoid weaving between parked cars. Don’t hug the curb and ride in a straight line at least 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid opening and opened car doors.

When necessary, use the entire lane

Move toward the center when the lane is too narrow for motorists to pass safely or when you are moving at the same speed as traffic.

To cross an intersection, use the lane farthest to the right in your direction of travel

Follow lane markings to cross an intersection. If you can't turn left, ride across the street to the other side and align your bike with traffic.

Stop at red lights and stop signs

Drivers in cross traffic may not expect or see you if you run a red light or stop sign, especially if they are approaching the intersection with speed. Behave like a car and stop at all red lights and stop signs.

Avoid the "door zone"

This is the 3 to 4 feet along the left side of a parked car where an opening door can hit and seriously injure a bicyclist. STAY OUT OF IT!

Use bicycle lanes, when available

When riding in a bike lane, ride to the left side of the lane, at least 3 to 4 feet from parked cars.

Look for a driver inside parked cars before passing

If you can't see inside or you see a driver inside, move outside the "Door Zone," or slow down and pass carefully.

Watch behind you

Keep track of and listen for traffic behind you. A mirror may help you see traffic behind you as you pedal forward.

Wear a Helmet

A properly fitted helmet is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce the chance of brain injury or death in the event of a collision. Helmet use can help prevent 85 percent of all head and brain injuries when worn correctly, according to AAA. Even a low-speed crash can do major damage to your brain.

Unfortunately, only 20 to 25 percent of cyclists wear helmets – even though 70 percent of all fatal bicycle crashes involve head injuries. Under California law, everyone under age 18 must wear a helmet while cycling.

Don’t be a statistic. Be safe and invest in a helmet that fits properly and meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the SNELL Standards for Protective Headgear.

Choosing a Helmet

Helmets come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. You can choose one that’s simply functional or one that makes a fashion statement.
Just choose one that fits. And if you’re in an accident, buy a new helmet. Even though you may not be able to tell by looking at it, your old helmet may be compromised and unsafe. Toss it.

Tips for Fitting Your Helmet

  1. Get the correct size. Your helmet size is based on the size of your head, not your age. Get someone to help you measure your head just above your eyebrows. Your helmet should cover your forehead. Don’t push it back – move it down so it’s no more than an inch above your eyebrows.

  2. Adjust the pads. Adjust the foam pads inside the helmet for a snug fit.

  3. Adjust the straps. Your ear straps should form a “V” just below each ear.

  4. Test the fit. Rock your helmet back and forth. The straps should only move one inch.