Injuries and Illness

Commuting Safety Tips for Bicycle Commuters

Bicycle commuting is on the rise, increasing by more than 62% nationwide from 2000 to 2013, according to the League of American Bicyclists. In bicycle-friendly communities, rates have increased more than 100% over that same period.

If your workers are going to give bicycle commuting a try this summer, encourage them to stay safe with these tips.

Bicycle commuter safety tips

If you bike to work, good for you! Biking is good for your health and the environment. But bike riders can be at a disadvantage in traffic, so some caution is advised. Be sure to:

Plan your route. You don’t want to just get on your bike on Monday morning and take your usual driving route to work. Instead, work out a bike-friendly route.

Your bike route to work will probably be along side streets, bike lanes, and bike paths rather than heavily traveled “main drags.” Practice your route on your day off, and make sure you work out any tricky spots along with your new commute time.

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Take advantage of public transit. If you have too far to go to bike the whole route, you may be able to use public transit for part of your trip.

Ride in the road. Beginning bikers may think sidewalks are safer, but bicycles belong—and are actually safer—in the roadway, following normal traffic rules.

Inspect your bike. Even more than with a car, it’s vital to give your bike a quick once-over before you set out. Make sure that:

  • Your tires are properly inflated.
  • Your brakes work.
  • Your chain is properly seated.
  • Your quick-releases are closed.

Take care of your bike. If you’re not a skilled bike mechanic, keep your bike in good repair with an annual inspection at a bike shop.

Stay visible. Wear light-colored clothing in dusk and darkness, and use flashing lights on the front and back of your bike to make yourself easier to see.

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Communicate. Be aware of the traffic around you, and make sure it’s aware of you. Use eye contact, hand signals, and a bike bell to let others know where you are and what you’re about to do.

Take up space. If you’re riding along a line of parked cars, you’re vulnerable to “dooming”—colliding with a car door when someone who doesn’t see you opens it. Give parked cars a wide berth, even if it means that cars driving in your lane cannot pass.

Stay in control. Riding fast puts you at greater risk of losing control. Always go slowly enough that you can stop, turn, or otherwise maneuver as needed.

Be watchful. Look out for potholes and other roadway hazards and obstructions, and give yourself enough reaction time to avoid them safely.

Need more tips for keeping workers safe on the way to and from work?® has you coming and going.

2 thoughts on “Commuting Safety Tips for Bicycle Commuters”

  1. Ride in the road good idea unless there are bike paths provided, some localities have nice bike paths available.
    Might be good idea to wear appropriate PPE, which in some areas may require a bicycle helmet, esp. for those under a certain age but also in some localities for adults.
    Use of flashing lights, conspicuity good tip but in some places may also require a non flashing headlight if riding before sunrise or after sunset. During the winter I have riden to work early morning before sunrise, headlight was useful, flashing headlight less useful.
    Courtesy goes along way when using the road, even when those in cars seem impatient with you and have to slow down or change lanes to pass you.

  2. With city bike rentals going up, a good safety training module needs to be discussed in more detail.

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