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SMART CYCLING

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QUICK GUIDE


You want the skills and confidence to bike safely. The League of American Bicyclists’ Smart Cycling program gives you the knowledge and resources you need to get out and ride.

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www.bikeleague.org/ridesmart

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The League’s short videos provide an accessible tool to brush up on the basics: www.bikeleague.org/ridesmartvideos

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Knowing how to ride safely also means knowing the law. For a list of bike laws in your state, visit:

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www.bikeleague.org/bikelaws Find a League Cycling instructor and Smart Cycling classes in your area by going to www.bikeleague.org and using the “Connect Locally” Search bar.


SMART CYCLING QUICK GUIDE

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FITTING A HELMET WHAT TO WEAR RIDING AT NIGHT AS SIMPLE AS ABC LOCKING YOUR BIKE SIGNALING SCANNING SHARING THE TRAIL RIDING ON SIDEWALKS RULES OF THE ROAD PRINCIPLES OF TRAFFIC LAW

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CONTENTS 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Intersections

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One Lane

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Multi-Lane

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Multiple Left Turn Lanes

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One-Way Streets with Two or More Lanes

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BIKE FACILITIES WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF A CRASH 1612 K STREET, NW, SUITE 308, WASHINGTON, DC 20006 202-822-1333 | 202-822-1334 fax WWW.BIKELEAGUE.ORG

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YOU SHAKE FITTING A WHEN YOUR HEAD FROM TO SIDE, HELMET SIDE A CORRECTLY FITTED HELMET WILL STAY IN PLACE.

3 LESS THAN 1/2” BETWEEN YOUR CHIN AND THE STRAP

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2 SIDE STRAPS MAKE A “Y” BELOW THE EAR

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1 TWO-FINGERS WIDTH BETWEEN EYEBROWS AND HELMET

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WHAT TO WEAR

NIGHT BRIGHT CLOTHING OR REFLECTIVE GEAR RAIN RAIN JACKET AND BRIGHT VISIBLE COLORS

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YOU CAN RIDE A BIKE IN YOUR EVERYDAY CLOTHES, THOUGH SPECIAL BIKE GEAR CAN IMPROVE LONGER RIDES COLD LAYERS, GLOVES AND AND INCREASE YOUR COMFORT EAR WARMERS AND SAFETY AT NIGHT, IN THE RAIN AND IN THE COLD.

PROTECT YOUR CLOTHES KEEP THEM AWAY FROM A GREASY CHAIN BY ROLLING UP YOUR PANT LEG OR USING A LEG BAND.

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RIDING AT NIGHT ALWAYS USE A WHITE HEADLIGHT AND RED REAR LIGHT

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(RED REAR REFLECTOR AT MINIMUM)


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AS SIMPLE AS ABC THE ABC QUICK CHECK WILL ENSURE YOUR BIKE IS IN GOOD WORKING ORDER AND MAKE YOUR RIDE SAFER. QUICK RELEASE

If your tires give a bit when you press with your thumb, they need some air.

If your bike has quick release wheels, make sure the release levers are securely closed.

B: BRAKES

CHECK

When you squeeze your brakes hard, you should still be able to fit your thumb between the brake levers and the handlebars. Check that your brake pads aren’t worn out – if they are, replace them.

As you start to ride, listen for any rubbing, grinding or clicking noises that might indicate something isn’t working correctly.

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C: CHAIN, CRANK, CASSETTE

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A: AIR

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Make sure your chain is running smoothly – lightly oiled and free of rust and gunk – by spinning it backwards a few revolutions.

BRAKES

If something isn’t working properly, fix what you can and take any additional adjustments to your local bike shop. Schedule a regular tune-up for your bike.

BRAKES

CHAIN QUICK RELEASE QUICK RELEASE AIR

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AIR


E PL M SA LOCKING YOUR BIKE TO LOCK YOUR BIKE, USE A U-SHAPED LOCK, A HEAVY STEEL CABLE LOCK OR A COMBINATION OF THE TWO. SECURE BOTH WHEELS AND THE FRAME TO AN IMMOVABLE OBJECT.

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SIGNALING SLOWING OR STOPPING

TURNING RIGHT

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(TRADITIONAL)

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TURNING RIGHT

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TURNING LEFT

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ALWAYS LET OTHERS KNOW WHEN YOU’RE TURNING, CHANGING LANES OR STOPPING.


SCANNING

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BEFORE CHANGING LANES OR TURNING, ALWAYS LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER AND UP AHEAD (SCAN). THEN SIGNAL YOUR TURN AND MAKE YOUR MOVE.

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you are using. Give a clear signal when passing either by using a bell or your voice. The most dangerous part of a trail is usually where another trail or road crosses, so be cautious and yield to any crossing traffic. Always be predictable by riding in a straight line and warn others when you are turning, slowing, passing or stopping. If you are riding while it is dark, be sure to use lights. When riding with others, stay on your side of the trail.

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» Be courteous. » Know the rules of the trail

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SHARING THE TRAIL


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Riding on the sidewalk is dangerous, often illegal and not recommended for adults. Motorists are not looking for you, especially if you’re riding against the flow of traffic. If you must ride on the sidewalk for a short stretch, be sure to:

USE EXTRA CAUTION AT DRIVEWAYS AND INTERSECTIONS. ASSUME DRIVERS AREN’T LOOKING FOR YOU.

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RIDING ONLY ON SIDEWALKS

WATCH FOR PEDESTRIANS AND YIELD TO THEM AT ALL TIMES.

them at all times. Use extra caution at every driveway/intersection and assume drivers aren’t looking for you.

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» Ride at walking pace. » Watch for pedestrians and yield to

RIDE AT WALKING PACE. 13


RULES OF THE ROAD » FOLLOW THE LAW Your safety and the perception of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

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» BE PREDICTABLE

» BE CONSPICUOUS

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Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before making a turn or changing lanes.

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Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, rear red light and reflectors when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with other road users and don’t ride on sidewalks.

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» THINK AHEAD

Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

» RIDE READY

Before you ride, do your ABC Quick Check. Make sure your tires have enough air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly and quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.

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PRINCIPLES OF TRAFFIC LAW » FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED

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In all 50 states, bicyclists are required to follow the same laws as other drivers in most circumstances. There are a few key principles that underpin all U.S. traffic laws.

» RIDE ON THE RIGHT

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Everyone on the road is entitled to the space they’re using. If you want to use someone else’s space, you must yield to whoever is using it.

Never ride against traffic — this puts you in a position where drivers don’t expect you to be.

» YIELD TO CROSSING TRAFFIC

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When you come to an intersection, if you don’t have the right of way, you must yield.

» YIELD WHEN CHANGING LANES

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Before changing lanes, look behind you and ensure that no traffic is coming.

» SPEED POSITIONING

The slowest vehicles on the road should be the furthest to the right and you should always pass on the left.

» LANE POSITIONING

Some lanes are wide enough for a car and bike to operate safely side by side. Ride a safe distance from the curb or parked cars — never ride in the gutter. When a lane is too narrow to share safely, ride in the middle of the lane.

» INTERSECTION POSITIONING When approaching an intersection, always use the rightmost lane going in the direction you’re riding.

» FOLLOW ALL STREET SIGNS, SIGNALS, AND MARKINGS

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PRINCIPLES OF TRAFFIC LAW

INTERSECTIONS

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The most important part of riding through intersections happens before you reach them, so be prepared.

» MOVE TO THE PROPER

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LANE WELL IN ADVANCE. » SIGNAL YOUR INTENTIONS. » TAKE EXTRA CARE AROUND TRUCKS, BUSES AND OTHER LARGE VEHICLES. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE AND STAY BEHIND LARGE VEHICLES — THEY HAVE BIG BLIND SPOTS AND MAKE WIDE TURNS. YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET TRAPPED AGAINST THE CURB. 16


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ONE LANE

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When approaching an intersection with one lane, position yourself in the lane with respect to your destination direction.

TO THE LEFT IF YOU WANT TO TURN LEFT

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LANE IF YOU ARE GOING STRAIGHT 18

ON THE RIGHT IF YOU WANT TO TURN RIGHT


MULTI-LANE

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When coming up to an intersection with multiple lanes, place yourself in the rightmost lane that is traveling in the direction you’re going.

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E PL M SA MULTIPLE LEFT TURN LANES

When turning left on a road with multiple left turn lanes, select the rightmost lane turning left.

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If a one-way street is two or more lanes wide, laws in most states allow you to ride on either side. When you make a left turn from a one-way street onto another one-way street, it’s easiest to turn from the left.

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ONE-WAY STREETS WITH TWO OR MORE LANES

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PRINCIPLES OF TRAFFIC LAW

BIKE FACILITIES

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Striped and signed bike lanes provide a dedicated space on the road for people on bikes. Treat the bike lane just the same as you would other travel lanes. Follow the same rules of the road.

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AVOID THE DOOR ZONE. LEAVE AT LEAST THREE FEET BETWEEN YOU AND PARKED CARS, PREFERABLY MORE. WATCH FOR PEOPLE OPENING THEIR DOOR.

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RIDING OUTSIDE THE BIKE LANE

PASSING ANOTHER BICYCLIST

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Keep in mind that even if your community has a law requiring you ride in a bike lane, there are usually exceptions, including...

MAKING A LEFT TURN 24

GOING AROUND HAZARDS


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A DASHED BIKE LANE STRIPE INDICATES THAT TRAFFIC MAY CROSS YOUR PATH. BE PREPARED FOR MERGING TRAFFIC.

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WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF A CRASH 1. MAKE SURE YOU’RE SAFE – RELAX AND COLLECT YOURSELF »

If you move yourself or any vehicles move, note where they were before that movement.

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Don’t refuse medical assistance or say you’re fine. Be cautious and protect your rights.

2. CALL THE POLICE – AND FOLLOW APPROPRIATE REPORTING LAWS Don’t negotiate with the driver prior to police involvement.

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Make sure you give a statement and that the police report is accurate.

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Take your own pictures if possible.

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Push officers to issue citations to motorists if appropriate. If you’re hit by a passing car, the motorist should get a safe passing violation ticket.

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Know your rights and traffic laws. (Not wearing a helmet does not make you at fault.)

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If you decide to post / publicize the crash on social media, be aware your comments could hurt your case.

3. IDENTIFY THE OTHER PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE CRASH »

Get names, license numbers, vehicle registrations, injuries and apparent damage.

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Identify and get contact information for witnesses.

4. CHECK YOUR BIKE FOR DAMAGE »

Any money you spend because of a crash may be recovered, even cab fare to get your broken bike.

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Preserve evidence of damage to yourself and the bike.


5. DOCUMENT WHATEVER YOU DO AFTER THE CRASH Especially medical care, repairs, and more — anything with money or an impact on compensation. » Seek medical care. Preserve your bicycle, clothing, and other damage — take photos if you must repair.

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Keep a journal of symptoms/pains and what you do to address them.

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6. GET CONNECTED TO THE BICYCLING COMMUNITY

They may be able to point you to a bicycling-specific lawyer or provide other helpful advice.

7. DECIDE WHETHER TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY

The greater the extent of property damage or injuries the higher likelihood you’ll find a competent and willing attorney.

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8. CONTACT THE MOTORIST’S INSURANCE COMPANY »

Don’t agree to a written or recorded statement without an attorney unless, after reflection, you have decided to not hire one.

9. PUBLICIZE YOUR CRASH THROUGH THE RESOURCES PROVIDED BY YOUR LOCAL ADVOCACY GROUP (e.g. @struckdc, #bikedc, city or federal bike accident reporting outlets)

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Be aware that if you choose to comment on your actions before or after the crash it may affect your ability to recover damages.


Did you find this Quick Guide useful? Want to support more initiatives—like this one—to get more people on bicycles? Become a member.

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Join us. Together, we’ll lead the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America.

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WWW.BIKELEAGUE.ORG/JOIN

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