Bike FAQs

Q.  Should I ride with or against traffic?
A. You must ride in the same direction as cars. A bicyclist has the same rights and duties as motorists, for example, stopping at red lights and stop signs. 

Q.  Where do I ride if there is no shoulder or bike lane and the travel lane is too narrow to share?
A. The best approach is to position yourself several feet out into the lane where motorists will see you and not be invited to squeeze by in the same lane. On narrower lanes, ten feet or less, a bicyclist might actually “take the lane”, i.e., position themselves at or near the center of the lane. This enables them to be seen by overtaking vehicles and gives the message that the overtaking vehicle must move left to pass when it is safe to do so. 

Q.  Who has the right of way, a bicyclist or a pedestrian?
A. Bicyclists, like motorists, must yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Q.  How do I make a left turn at a busy intersection?
A. With the proper skills and experience, a bicyclist may move to the left (after checking other traffic) to the left side of the lane or into a left turn lane and execute a left turn, as would other vehicular traffic. If conditions seem too difficult to do this, a bicyclist can always ride to the far corner, reposition themselves on the crossing street and proceed when they have the right of way; or, they can dismount and walk across the road, then remount and proceed.

Q.  Do I have to wear a helmet?
A. Currently, children under the age of 17 are required to wear a bicycle helmet when riding a bicycle. Helmets have been shown to reduce the incidence of head injuries. A recent review of 5 well-conducted, case-controlled studies identified a 63 percent to 85 percent reduction in the risk of head and brain injuries for all ages of bicyclists. It makes sense for all bicyclists to wear one.

Q.  Can I ride a bike on the sidewalk?
A. While riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is not prohibited, some municipalities have passed ordinances prohibiting bicycle traffic on certain sidewalks. This prohibition is usually posted. It should be noted, that sidewalks are for pedestrians. Riding on sidewalks can cause conflicts with pedestrians and, like wrong way riding, can lead to crashes since it places bicyclists in situations where others do not expect them. Except for very young cyclists under parental supervision, sidewalks are not for bicycling.

Q.  Isn’t riding on the road unsafe?
A. It depends on a rider’s confidence and competence and the road. Statistics indicate bicycling is about as safe as driving or riding in a car. Local streets and bicycle compatible streets are generally easier than busy arterials. You should practice your bike riding skills and make sure you know the rules of the road so you can ride with confidence. If you encounter difficult situations beyond your skills, such as at a busy intersection, you can always stop, dismount and walk your bike.