As summer winds down, more folks may be getting out on their bicycles to enjoy the cooler weather. More riders on the roads and trails may mean more chances for accidents and injuries. Bicycling is a fun activity, but, unfortunately, like any other activity, there are dangers and injuries that may arise from accidents. I am happy to introduce local attorney Mr. John M. O’Brien who shares his thoughts and a useful infographic on the intricacies of bicycle safety.

Riding a Bicycle: A leisurely activity with its own set of rules

It doesn’t matter if you are a child, a teen or a full-grown adult. Riding a bike is a great way not only to do some exercise, but also to relax and have fun. It is a cheaper transportation option and you will even make Mother Nature happy by taking a bike ride rather than your car or the bus. You can take a ride around the city, participate in races with friends or even ride a tandem bicycle with your loved one.

With this said, there are some laws that apply to bicyclists to make sure that they won’t get hurt or hurt anyone while they are out enjoying themselves.

When you are on your bicycle, you must use a permanent seat.
Make sure that you, your passengers and even pedestrians are safe. Always use a permanent seat on your bike and screw it in tightly. If you don’t, there is the danger that when you brake abruptly, the seat may detach and you may fly off and injure yourself or others.

Cyclist on street
Image by Roman Koester, Unsplash

Never attach your bike to a vehicle on a roadway.
We have all seen people on bicycles or skateboards grabbing a tram, a bus or even a car and letting the vehicle drag them. Not only is this illegal, it is also extremely dangerous. You never know when the vehicle in question may stop suddenly, and you can bump into it, or worse, be thrown under it.

You are risking your health if you do it, so please, follow the law and avoid such incidents.

You must always signal your movements.
Unlike cars, bicycles don’t have a turn signal. Therefore, it is mandatory that every time you ride your bike on the road and you need to make a turn or to stop, you have to show this to the other drivers with an arm signal.

Learn which ones they are and always be sure to practice them when you are on your bike, so you can ensure your safety and avoid a crash. It is also forbidden by law to carry any object that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebar.

You must make sure you are in complete control of your bicycle in case you need to make a sharp turn.

Your bicycle must always be properly equipped.
If you decide to ride your bicycle at night, you must install two accessories. The first one is a red reflector which goes on the back of your bike. It must emit a red light powerful enough to be seen from a distance of 300 feet. On the front of the bike, you must install a headlamp with enough power to emit white light visible from 500 feet away.

These precautions are necessary to make sure that you are visible in traffic. Cars must be able to spot you, and you should be able to see what’s coming from the front to avoid any possible obstacle.

You must have powerful brakes.
Your bike must be equipped with brakes that are able to skid on dry, level, clean pavement when the brake is applied. In case you need to stop suddenly you won’t slide on the pavement and crash into the thing you wanted to avoid.

Bikes on the trail

In the end I would like to urge all readers to be very careful when on the road. These laws were made to ensure everyone’s well-being, so abiding by them will give way to more secure and pleasant traffic.

Don’t risk your safety and that of others, just follow the law and have fun!

John O'Brien Attorney

O’Brien & Zehnder Law Firm are personal injury attorneys located in the Sacramento, California area.

Thank you, John, for your valuable insights on bicycle safety. Not only should adults adhere to the laws and rules of the road, but children and youth should also be taught these same rules. Adults and youth should always wear a helmet when riding.

Now get out there and safely ride your bike!

Featured image originally from Unsplash by Robert Baker 

16 thoughts on “Guest Post: Riding a #Bicycle

  1. Thanks for introducing us to John’s guest post, Terri. All these tips are vital, but I was wondering what the law was about holding a mobile phone while cycling? In the UK, it’s illegal to hold and use a mobile phone whilst driving a car, so I wondered if the same applied for cyclists, too?
    Needless to say that I don’t use or carry a mobile phone when out cycling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is a great question, Hugh! Many states including California have the same law, but I haven’t heard about a law for mobile phone use and cycling. For cycling, Helmets are required for youth, still optional for adults. I keep my phone with me while riding, you never know when a photo op will arise. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good point about carrying one with you in case of emergency, Terri. It does make you wonder what we did before the age of the mobile phone, doesn’t it? So long as you’re not actually using the phone whilst cycling, then I guess you’re not breaking any laws.
        Now, I wonder if they can apply those rules to people pushing shopping carts? 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. HI Terri
    Thank you. When riding on the roads you have to be so careful of drivers who aren’t paying attention. Maybe a follow-up would be a safety reminder for drivers about keeping their eyes pealed for bicyclists.
    Another dangerous situation for cyclist is not watching parked cars for drivers who may be opening their driver side doors or pulling away from the curb without checking the review mirror.
    And for the driver there is always the dreaded blind spot.
    My daughter and I have been riding bikes along the path in Monterey with my grandson riding in tow in a bicycle trailer. Basically, no cars except at intersections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SAn Diego is not the easiest city in which to navigate on bikes. Then the burbs are so full of hills! I’ve been known to ride on the sidewalk for a short stretch because I don’t trust the cars on the main street, even with the bike lane!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post – thanks for the reminders. Beginning this past spring I started running quick errands on my bike (rather than starting up the car) – and take longer bike rides whenever possible. I’ve been averaging about 10 miles per day this past week alone. Rules of the road are critical to keeping everyone safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! If I lived in a slightly better neighborhood (where the grocery store is) I would ride my bike to pick up a small load of groceries. Congrats on your daily 10 miles! Impressive!! Fall up here in Sacramento is perfect weather for bike riding. Hmmm, perhaps tomorrow morning…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Both of our adult sons love riding bikes and taught their children very young to ride. They abide by safety laws, no one venturing even for a ride down the driveway without a properly fitting helmet. You point out a few considerations I’d never thought of (permanently attached seat) and I’ll pass them along.

    I may write on my own blog why I no longer ride a bike – if I determine the story is worth sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember as a kid just hopping on the bike and riding off with no consideration for rules. I have almost been run off the road in a bike lane by wayward cars on busy streets, which I try to avoid. I would love to read about your bike experience, Shari!

      Liked by 1 person

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