1. BE VISIBLE
Riding at Night- California Vehicle Code Section 21201 (d) provides the requirements for cyclists riding at night. A bicycle operated during darkness shall be equipped with all of the following:
- Front lamp emitting a white light
- Rear red reflector
- Reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle
- Reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle.
Riding During the Day- It's just as important to stay visible during the day. Many motorists look past or through cyclists. I recommend wearing a bright reflective jersey and always having a rear blinking red light. When you are passing motorists that are coming from perpendicular streets try to make eye contact or give them a wave, to make sure they see you.
2. BE PREDICTABLE
One easy way to be predictable is to follow the law. That means riding in the same direction of traffic, on the right hand side of the road or in a bike lane, and using hand signals to indicate you are turning. Never dart out into traffic or weave in and out of cars when you are passing through traffic. If you are riding predictably, you are also more likely to be visible to other motorists.
3. WEAR A HELMET
California Law only requires persons under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. However, everyone riding on the road should be wearing a helmet. They may not always look "cool", but they can definitely save your life. In 91% of bicycle accident fatalities, the cyclist was not wearing a helmet. What more do you need to know?
4. SCAN AHEAD
It's always important to be scanning ahead of you to avoid potential hazards in the road. Be on the lookout for debris in the roadway, pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles that may be entering into or exiting the roadway. The more advanced notice you have of a potential hazard helps you avoid having to make a last second erratic decision. Also, if you are riding in a group, remember to use your hand signals to alert cyclists behind you of any upcoming hazards.
5. LEAVE ROOM ON YOUR RIGHT
A very common accident that occurs in urban areas is "dooring". Being "doored" happens when you are riding on the street next to a parked car, the passenger opens the car door, and you have no time or space to avoid hitting the door. To avoid this type of accident, simply ride next to parked car with at least a car door's distance between you and the car. It's also a good idea to scan ahead and pay extra attention to signs that someone may be exiting their car, like cars that have recently parked or if you see brake lights on a parked car.