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Bicycle Commuting and Safety


Get into shape. Help clean the air. Help reduce traffic congestion. Riding your bicycle to work, school or to another destination one day a week can make a difference.

The average distance that people travel to work is less than 10 miles, and more than half of these trips to work are 5 miles or less. This distance is considered ideal for bicycling commuting.

If you are new to commuting, select a route and test it; check and/or select equipment; learn basic repair techniques – at least how to change and repair a flat tire; and last, but most important, review and use proper riding skills.

You may want to take a course in bicycle maintenance and/or riding skills. Check with Pima Community College, the University of Arizona, local bicycling clubs and bicycle shops for current course offerings.

As a cyclist, you must be aware of your rights and responsibilities under the law. As a motorist, you should always be aware of these laws and how to interact with cyclists. Understanding your role in our multi-modal street system and obeying the laws will help keep our community bicycle-friendly.


Bicycle Riding Safety Tips

Please observe the following safety tips when riding your bicycle:

  • Be Visible Always think of how other operators see you.  Wear light and/or bright colors to be seen better.
  • Be Predictable Follow the same rules motorists do. You will get along with them better and enjoy cycling more.
  • Select The Best Route Look for roadways that have less traffic, are wider and are reasonably straight. Use designated bike routes. They are planned for your safety and enjoyment as a bicyclist.
  • Watch For Hazards Regularly scan the roadway ahead and to your side for cars, pedestrians and unexpected hazards such as potholes, glass and roadside trees that limit visibility. Be prepared to yield even though you may have the right-of-way. Ride at least 2 feet from the road edge to avoid debris and allow space to maneuver.
  • Keep Control Of Your Bicycle Keeping both hands on the handlebars allows you to make quicker turns and stops. In rain, allow up to three times the normal distance to stop.
  • Always Wear A Helmet A helmet does four things for you: Makes you more visible; keeps your head cooler in the sun; helps gain motorists respect; and, most importantly, it protects your head if you fall.
  • Use Lights At Night - Be Seen! The laws requires a white headlight and red rear reflector at night. Adding a red tail light or amber reflector makes you even more visible.
  • Obey Traffic Signs, Signals, Laws Bicyclists must operate their bicycles like drivers of vehicles. Obeying laws makes you more predictable to motorists, who will then take you more seriously.
  • Lock Your Bike When You’re Gone Lock your bike with a U-shaped lock or a strong cable or hardened chain. Lock it to an immovable object such as a bike rack, putting the lock or cable through both wheels and the frame.
  • Cross Tracks With Care Ride over railroad/trolley tracks at right angles only. This prevents wheels from slipping on or getting stuck in the tracks, which can cause serious injury.
  • Use Hand Signals Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy and self-protection.
  • Ride On The Right With Traffic Ride with traffic. Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the roadway. Bicycling on the wrong side is particularly dangerous at intersections, roadway curves and on the crests of hills.
  • Turning Left Bicyclists can make a left turn by: 1) signaling, yielding to traffic, moving into the left lane, then turning left; or 2) riding straight across, stopping, and crossing when clear.
  • Riding Through Intersections When you’re going straight through an intersection, avoid the right-turn-only lane. Don’t try to ride to the right of a right-turning motorist, even if you think you have the right-of-way.
  • Motorists, Pass With Care Motorists are required by law to pass with at least three feet clearance; please provide even more (up to five feet) whenever possible.
Call 791-4372 to ask for a free copy of the Bicycle Commuter Handbook and/or the Bicycle Guide.

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