Riding a bike is fun and healthy. You can buy one easily, as it does not need licensing. Furthermore, it is an eco-friendly mode of transportation and a great form of exercise. If you are an environmentally conscious person, please know that people are gradually giving up their car addiction. Cyclists, who were hard to come by earlier, are now a common sight.
Following the lead of citizens, governments are also initiating bike infrastructure to help the riders. Although the road safety rules vary from state to state, here are the eight important laws that every rider should know:
Don’t ride against the traffic
Besides being a law, this is a matter of common sense as well. Suppose a rider decides to ride in the direction against the traffic flow. In that case, he/sherisks not only himself/herself but also others. Riding the wrong way or salmoning (known among thebiker’s community) creates confusion for the approaching drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists. It decreases their reaction time and leaves them with only two options – either hitthe cyclist or drive into oncoming traffic. So if a collision happens in such conditions, the rideris at fault.
Maintain a safe distance from cars
The law requires car drivers and bicyclists to maintain a safe distance from each other. The minimum length of distance for compliance with this law is three feet,including the projections and mirrors. They have to maintain this safe distance at all times, especially while overtaking. Andif a car driver gets too close while passing a cyclist, he will get in trouble for it. In such asituation, an expert personal injury attorney service, like Rider Justice motorcycle lawyer, can help riders understand their rights better.
Wear a helmet
Bicycle helmets are safety gear that protects against head injuries in the event of a collision. It is worth mentioning that wearing a helmet while bicycling is not just a safety precaution but a law. However, the implementation of this law varies from state to state. It also depends upon the age of the rider as well. For example, states like Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, and Virginia require their riders to wear helmets, while Arkansas and Colorado don’t.
Similarly, in Florida, bike riders under 16 must wear a helmet. While California, Delaware, and New Mexico require bike riders under 18 to wear a helmet. Hence there is no specific federal law in this regard. Bike riders should know the bicycle helmet law in their state for compliance.
Never ride with more persons than the bike can hold
No cyclist can carry a passenger with him unless his bike can seat one. Doing so is not only illegal but also dangerous for both the rider and his passenger. Any rider doing so is breaking the law and will receive a penalty for it.
Bicycles must have some lighting. According to the US law,a rider needs to have active and passive lights installed in his/her bicycle. Perhaps, active lights are the regular lights. Passive lights, on the other hand, do not require any action to activate. The term usually refers to reflectors that work automatically in the presence of a light source.
In almost every country, the law emphasizes havingrear and front lights when cycling in the dark. However, it is imperative to mention that the lights installed on the bike’s front side must be white, while those installed at the back must be red. Installation of the lights helps riders to ride safely, specifically at night.
Use hand signals
Like the drivers of motorized vehicles, who use their blinkers for communication, bicycle riders must also use hand signals to communicate their intentions. And they have to showit forat least 100 feet before they startacting on it. Although most riders learn hand signals as part of license exams,they fail to use them when actually required.As stated by law, the hand signsinclude a fully extended left arm for the left turn, a right arm for the right turn. An open hand denotes slowing down or stopping. Hand signals,when combined with appropriate body language, are relatively intuitive.
Don’t ride side by side
According to the regulations, two cyclists should not ride side by side. Doing so disturbs the normal and reasonable movement of the traffic. Therefore, riders should always travel in a single lane. However, exclusive bike lanes are a completely different story. Here two bicyclists can ride side by side, but the number should not exceed more than two.
Utter audible signal while passing pedestrians
By law, bike riders must offer an audible sign while passing by or overtaking a pedestrian. Although there is no specific script, the regulation is there to ensureboth the biker and pedestrians’ safety. Announcing when a rideris passing bya pedestrian is not just about good manners. Instead,it’s a warning that alertsthem of the rider’s presenceand his actions.
The Bottom Line
While cycling is a simple pleasure, the rider has to follow the rules and regulations. Doing so keeps him and others safe. Although the laws vary from one state to another, the essential regulations stay the same. Of them, we have listed the eightessential rules that every rider should know. If you are a rider or planning to become one, learn these by heart and have a safe bike riding experience.