Like any sport, bicycling involves the risk of injury. By choosing to ride a bicycle, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so you need to know and to practice the rules of safe and responsible riding and of proper use and maintenance.
When you buckle on your helmet and go for your first familiarization ride on your new bicycle, be sure to pick a controlled environment, away from cars, other cyclists, obstacles, or other hazards. Ride to become familiar with the controls, features, and performance of your bike.
Familiarize yourself with the braking action of the bike. Test the brakes at slow speed, putting your weight toward the rear and gently applying the brakes, rear brake first. Sudden or excessive application of the front brake could pitch you over the handlebars. Applying brakes too hard can lock up a wheel, which could cause you to lose control and fall. Skidding is an example of what can happen when a wheel locks up.
1. You are sharing the road or the path with other motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Respect their rights.
2. Ride defensively. Always assume that others do not see you.
3. Look ahead, and be ready to avoid: motor vehicles, parked cars, pedestrians, and varying road conditions, the many other hazards and distractions which can occur on a bicycle ride.
4. Ride in designated bike lanes, on designated bike paths, or as close to the edge of the road as possible, in the direction of traffic flow.
5. Stop at stop signs and traffic lights; slow down and look both ways at street intersections. Remember that a bicycle always loses in a collision with a motor vehicle, so be prepared to yield even if you have the right of way.
6. Use approved hand signals for turning and stopping.
7. Never ride with headphones.
8. Don’t weave through traffic or make any moves that may surprise people with whom you are sharing the road.
9. Observe and yield the right of way.
10. Never ride your bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
And have a darn good time!