The Essentials of Smart Cycling
Follow the Law
A bike is a legal road vehicle, and riders are subject to the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic, as far to the right as is safe for you, in the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going. Read more on Georgia-specific bicycle laws or pick up a free Georgia Bikes Bicyclist Pocket Guide at TPS Customer Relations in Tate Plaza.
Make your intentions clear to other road users. Ride straight, don’t swerve in and out of parked cars. Signal turns and scan behind you well in advance of changing lanes.
Ride where you can be seen, not on the sidewalk. Wear bright clothing. Use a white front light and red rear light in addition to reflectors at night or in low visibility. Make eye contact with other road users.
Recent research demonstrates that adding reflective materials at the joints of the body (elbows, knees etc.) will lead a driver’s eyes to pick up on the motion of the reflective patches and identify a cyclist or pedestrian as a person much more effectively than with reflectors on the torso (as with a safety vest).
Watch out for others and slow down while sharing pathways with people on foot. This applies to the many multi-use paths that cross through campus as well as the Greenway and Firefly Trail off campus.
Anticipate what other road users will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and don’t rely on others to use turn signals. Ride outside the “door zone” of parked cars. Look out for debris and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at a right angle to avoid slipping.
Check your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed tight. Carry supplies appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet that fits you properly.
Avoid distractions such as cell phones and earbuds that may prevent you from seeing or hearing other road users. Don’t ride impaired: 26% of US cyclists killed in 2017 had a blood alcohol concentration of at least .01.
Five Layers of Safety
According to NHTSA, “A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.” While it is important to wear a helmet, it is even more important to avoid situations that could lead to a crash in the first place. You can learn the safety skills below from League Cycling Instructors in locally available classes. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Bike Control
If you can skillfully control your bike by starting, stopping, signaling, and maneuvering smoothly, you will avoid falling or running into other bicyclists, cars, and pedestrians.
2. Following the Rules
Follow all traffic laws, obey signs and signals, and use the correct lanes. Situational awareness is key, so be alert, predictable, and visible.
Know when to control the lane or when to share a lane. Use your lane position to tell drivers what you’re doing and discourage them from turning right or left immediately in front of you — a right hook or left cross — or other movements that put bicyclists at risk.
4. Hazard Avoidance
When all else fails and you’re faced with a critical situation, understand how to maneuver your bike to avoid crashing, or at least limit the consequences of a crash. Practice in safe conditions to become adept at these maneuvers.
5. Passive Safety
Wear a helmet so, if all else fails, you have a final layer of protection.
How to Use a Two-Stage Turn Queue Box:
A Two-Stage Turn Queue Box is a system designed to allow bicyclists to safely turn left across heavy traffic. These turns are located at the intersections of S Lumpkin St/University Ct/Cedar St and S Lumpkin St/W Rutherford St.
When traveling on University Ct and turning left onto S Lumpkin St, follow these steps:
- Once you have a green light, ride straight across to the green queue box and stop.
- Rotate your bike inside the box to prepare to move with the S Lumpkin St traffic and wait.
- Once the light for S Lumpkin St traffic turns green, proceed towards your destination.