Taking Two Wheels Instead of Four
Bicycling done safely is a great way for families and individuals to run errands, commute to work or school, or just enjoy nature while on a stroll.
Remember bicycle safety is for everyone! Adults, kids, and everyone in between... bicycle safety is important at any age!
Plan your biking trip in Allegany County by checking out the county's Bicycle Trails, Cycling Routes, and Bike Tour Maps.
For more safety information, please visit SafeNY.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Bicyclists are required to follow the same laws and rules of the road as motorists. This includes riding on the right side of the road as well as obeying traffic signs and signals. Riding on the left side of the road, facing traffic is a common action on the part of the bicyclist that can cause a crash. Bicycle safety tips intended to minimize crashes and injuries while bicycling include:
- Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.
- Always wear your helmet - Bicyclist's 14 years old and younger are required to wear a helmet when operating a bicycle. The helmet must conform to the standard established by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell) at all times.
- Never ride against traffic - Motorist’s aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other operating vehicles.
- Don’t pass on the right - Motorist's may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
- Keep both hands ready to brake - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.
- Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
- Never operate a bicycle wearing headphones, talking on a cell phone or text messaging - Wearing headphones, talking on a cell phone or text messaging when operating a bicycle can be a deadly distraction. Be alert to your surroundings; stop your bicycle when sending or receiving a cell phone call or text message.
- Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
- Do not consume alcohol - Consuming alcohol and operating a bicycle do not mix. Alcohol can dramatically diminish a bicyclist’s cognitive and physical abilities and can result in a crash.
- Dress appropriately - In rain, wear a poncho or a waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear brightly colored clothing.
- Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy and of self-protection.
- Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic - Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
- Choose the best way to turn left - There are two choices: (1) Like an automobile: Signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: Ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
- Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver who might pose a threat to your safety.
- Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
- Use lights at night - New York law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a red rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).
- Keep your bike in good repair - Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.
Does the law require me to wear a helmet?
Yes, if you are under 14 years of age. Effective June 1, 1994, all bicyclists under the age of fourteen are required to wear approved bicycle helmets when they are operators or passengers on bicycles. Child passengers one through four years of age must wear approved bicycle helmets and ride in a specially designed child safety seat. Children under the age of one are prohibited from being transported on a bicycle.
What equipment is required on bicycles?
A bicycle must be equipped with: