Oklahoma Bicycle Manual: Additional Safety Tips

Ride your bicycle as far to the right as practical. This is at least a handlebars’ width from the curb and not farther left than the typical path of the right wheel of a motor vehicle. You should be recognized as part of traffic, but should not inhibit the safe passage of other vehicles. When riding parallel to parked cars, allow at least a car door’s width between you and the cars.

Ride within a single lane if you are riding two abreast. You still must ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practical. Allow approximately two handlebars’ width between each bicycle while riding in a straight line. The left rider should not be farther left than the typical path of the left wheel of a motor vehicle.

Bicyclists may ride on the paved shoulder when a paved shoulder suitable for bicycle riding is present. You should use special caution at all intersections (including driveways and alleys) while riding on the shoulder. Motor vehicles may turn right and cross your path. At major intersections, it is best to declare your direction by coming back to the appropriate lane for your intended direction.

Ride in a single file if the sight visibility for approaching motorists is limited, such, as on hills or curves. Riding two abreast gives a motorist less room to recover if he or she fails to see you in time to take appropriate action.

Ride predictably. Maintain your lane position. Be assertive in your maneuvers. Make your actions clear to other traffic.

Make eye contact with other vehicle operators. Confirm they see you and anticipate their actions. If you don’t attain eye contact, be extra cautious. Always ride defensively.

Always check over your shoulder for approaching traffic before adjusting your position in traffic. Remember, other vehicles may not be approaching you by the rules of the road. In other words, expect other vehicles anywhere and everywhere.

Cross railroad tracks at a right angle. If the crossing is in bad shape or at a bad angle, dismount and walk across.

Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.

A bicyclist may make a left turn by two methods:

  1. Like an auto: signal left, and turn left from the left lane.

  2. Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side of the intersection, stop, then proceed in the new
    direction.

Wear high visibility clothing: light colors, bright colors and reflective material, especially at night.

Use pedal and spoke reflectors and reflective tape or reflective vests while riding in poor visibility conditions. Avoid riding in poor visibility if possible.

Don’t wear headphones or use anything that inhibits your ability to hear. Metropolitan cities prohibit such use. Check with your local law enforcement officials.

Plan your routes carefully. Obtain route information, such as maps, if available. Check with government officials, bicycle shops and clubs.

Ride alert. If you are disoriented or not feeling well, become a pedestrian and follow all laws and safety guidelines for pedestrians.

You are not relieved of your legal obligations because of old or non-functioning traffic control equipment at intersections. Some signalized intersections are not equipped with detectors that recognize bicycles. If your presence won’t change the light, wait for another vehicle, or become a pedestrian and use the crosswalks.

While riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. You should give an audible warning before passing apedestrian. Riding on sidewalks and in crosswalks may be prohibited by local ordinances. Check with your local law enforcement officials.

If you are riding on a crosswalk or sidewalk, you have the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Never assume you have the right-of-way. Your first responsibility at all times is to avoid a crash. It is true in many instances another vehicle operator should yield to you. However, many people have been seriously injured because they insisted on the right-of-way. Right-of-way rules and regulations do not authorize negligent bicycling.

In case of a crash, determine your need for emergency assistance. If you or anybody else is injured or there is private or public property damage, notify the local law enforcement officials. Many areas are served by the 911 emergency service. If you have a cellular phone, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol can be reached by dialing *55. If you don’t have access to an appropriate emergency number, dial 0 and ask the operator for emergency assistance.

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