Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation

Safety tips

Bike riding can be a lot of fun, but it is important to remember that a bicycle is a vehicle. Follow some basic safety tips when you ride


  • Follow the rules of the road. Don't take unnecessary risks i.e. trying to ride through a yellow light. Review the Virginia Laws. if you’re unsure or need to brush up.
  • Make eye contact and stay alert. Watch drivers' eyes to ensure they see you. Expect cars to make rolling stops and not see you. Don't wear headphones, your hearing is your second most important sense.
  • Be seen. Use flashing lights on the front and rear of your bike and wear bright clothing. Use hand signal and be very explicit when changing lanes or turning.
  • Be heard. Have a bike bell or be willing to use your voice, LOUDLY.
  • Watch for parked cars. Be very careful when driving by parked cars and claim your lane.
  • Be prepared for repairs. Carry a spare inner tube, pump and repair kit. Know how to change a tire and do minor repairs. Keep your bike tuned and your brakes in good working condition.
  • Have a backup plan. Have a bus ticket handy or money for fare in case you need motor vehicle support.
  • Wear a helmet. Find one that fits correctly and comfortably and that you like.
  • Plan your bike route in advance. If you plan on riding to work give yourself extra time the first few times you ride it. While cyclists can ride on any city streets, try to use dedicated bike routes. If you feel the urge to ride on the sidewalk because you find conditions dangerous, you're probably riding on the wrong street. Find a street you're more comfortable riding on.
  • Get some training. Take a Smart Cycling class.
  • Help others. Smile and be courteous to other cyclists. Ask if a stranded rider needs help.

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