Bike Safety Tips

Bicycle Safety Tips

The Ashland Police Department believes that it is extremely important to educate young cyclists about bike safety. Here are a few bike safety tips from the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


  • Adjust Your Bicycle to Fit - Stand over your bicycle. There should be one to two inches between you and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and three to four inches if a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back. The seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.

  • Avoid Riding at Night - It is far more dangerous to ride at night than during the day because you are harder for others to see. If you have to ride at night, wear something that makes you more easily seen by others. Make sure you have reflectors on the front and rear of your bicycle (white lights on the front and red rear reflectors are required by law in many States), in addition to reflectors on your tires, so others can see you.

  • Check Your Equipment - Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.

  • Control Your Bicycle - Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars. Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack

  • See and Be Seen - Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others. Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible. Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.

  • Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards - Be on the lookout for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash. If you are riding with friends and you are in the lead, yell out and point to the hazard to alert the riders behind you.

  • Wear a Properly Fitted Bicycle Helmet - Protect your brain, save your life. For more information see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publication “Easy Steps to Properly Fit a Bicycle Helmet.”


Rules for the Road

When riding, always:

  • Be Predictable - Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.

  • Go With the Traffic Flow - Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow -not against it.

  • Look Before Turning - When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic, then signal before making the turn. Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.

  • Obey All Traffic Laws - A bicycle is a vehicle and you’re a driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.

  • Stay Alert at All Times - Use your eyes and ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations; don’t wear a headset when you ride.

  • Watch for Parked Cars - Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (like doors opening, or cars pulling out).

  • Yield to Traffic When Appropriate - Almost always, drivers on a smaller road must yield (wait) for traffic on a major or larger road. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), you must slow down and look to see if the way is clear before proceeding. This also means yielding to pedestrians who have already entered a crosswalk.

Helpful Resources

For additional bike safety tips and information, visit these websites: