It may seem obvious, but obey all traffic signs and signals. When riding in the road, a bicyclist must still follow the same laws that automobile drivers have to. This means stopping at stop signs, street lights, signaling when turning, and riding at the proper speed limit.
DON'T: Ride Without a Helmet
This is the first and foremost rule that you should follow when bicycling, even if you're just riding a block or two around your neighborhood. A helmet is the only element that you have to protect you from devastating consequences when involved in an accident. Keep in mind that head injuries are the leading cause of bicycle accident deaths. A helmet should fit snugly on the head with a properly tightened chin strap.
DO: Make Yourself Visible
Many state laws require bicyclists to wear a visible white headlight that can be seen from at least 500 feet ahead and a rear reflector that is visible from up to 300 ft away. Even if this isn't the law in your state, it's still a recommended practice. In the evening or in overcast or foggy conditions, make sure to wear to bright clothing so you can ensure that drivers see you, and therefore avoid you, on the road.
DON'T: Assume Drivers See You
You can never make the assumption that driver's see you on the road. Always try and make eye contact with drivers when you can. Motorists are not on the lookout for bicyclists so you must be proactive to make yourself visible and ride defensively or you will end up needing a car accident lawyer. Make sure you follow lane markings when making turns and use proper hand signals to let motorists know your intentions. Be able to look over your shoulder without swerving or losing balance to know your surroundings. If this is difficult for you, consider installing a rear-view mirror on your handle bar or helmet.
DO: Be on Alert While Riding
Various elements like gravel, ice, debris, and litter can present a potential hazard to you on the road. Stay focused on your surroundings to avoid riding over something that can lead to loss of control. When crossing railroad tracks, do so at a right angle. Never ride while wearing headphones or anything else that can distract you on the road. Keep your hands poised and ready on your brakes should you need to use them suddenly.
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In addition to following these do's and don'ts, make sure to maintain your bicycle properly. This means checking the bike's tire pressure and brakes regularly. In addition, always keep an emergency repair kit on hand. When riding with children, take extra precaution since they are even less visible to motorists. If you've been injured in a cycling accident caused by a negligent motorist, contact a personal injury attorney who can guide you and inform you of your legal rights.