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New Mexico State University

Cyclist safety tips from NMDOT

1. NEVER RIDE AGAINST TRAFFIC

It is extremely dangerous and against the law to ride on the wrong side of the roadway. It is also illegal to ride the wrong way on a one-way street.

 

 

2. RIDE DEFENSIVELY

When possible, ride in a straight line, to the right of traffic. For your own safety be as predictable as you can.

 

 

3. FOLLOW LANE MARKINGS

Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked right-turn-only.

 

 

4. PASS ON THE RIGHT WITH CARE

Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right. They also may not signal their turns.

 

 

5. CHOOSE THE BEST WAY TO TURN LEFT

There are two ways to make a left turn —

(1) Like an auto: signal, move into the left turn lane and turn left with the traffic, and

(2) like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk and walk your bike across the street.

 

 

6. OBEY TRAFFIC SIGNS AND SIGNALS

Bicyclists must follow the same laws as motorists if they are to be taken seriously.

 

 

7. USE HAND SIGNALS

Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy, and self-protection.

 

 

8. SCAN THE ROAD BEHIND

Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.

 

 

9. BEWARE OF PARKED CARS AND PEDESTRIANS

Try to ride about a car door’s width away from parked cars. Watch for people opening car doors and pedestrians darting out into the street. Don’t weave in and out of parked cars.

 

 

10. BEWARE OF APPROACHING VEHICLES TURNING LEFT.

Many bicycle accidents in New Mexico are caused by a motorist turning left and not seeing the approaching bicyclist.

11. WATCH FOR CARS PULLING OUT

Make eye contact with drivers. Assume they don’t see you until you are sure they do.

 

 

 

 

 

12. MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH DRIVERS

Assume that motorists do not see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important, with any driver who might pose a threat to your safety.

 

 

13. AVOID ROAD HAZARDS

Look ahead for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, debris, cracks, and potholes. Remember to allow extra distance for stopping in the rain since brakes may be less effective when wet.

 

 

14. CROSS RAILROAD TRACKS CAREFULLY

Cross railroad tracks at a perpendicular angle so your tire does not slip on the rail or drop into the slot, causing a spill. Wet railroad tracks are very slippery.

 

 

15. DRESS APPROPRIATELY

Wear a sturdy helmet to protect your head. Bright colored clothing will make you more visible to motorists. New Mexico’s weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared for rain or snow and sudden changes in temperature. Generally, dress in layers.

 

 

 

16. USE A PACK OR RACK TO CARRY THINGS

Saddlebags, racks, and baskets are all good ways to carry packages, freeing your hands for safe riding. Never carry more people than the design of your bike permits.

 

 

17. LOCK YOUR BIKE WHEN YOU’RE GONE

Lock up to a post or bike rack, threading the chain through both wheels and the frame if you can. Deter thieves by clearly marking the frame and detachable parts with your bike registration number or social security number.

 

 

18. USE LIGHTS AT NIGHT

The law requires a headlight and rear reflector or tail light at night. Wear lightcolored clothes with reflective tape for extra visibility. Avoid wearing dark colors and red.

 

 

19. WATCH FOR CHASING DOGS

Dogs are attracted by the spinning of wheels and feet. Ignore them, or try shouting a firm loud “NO”. If a dog doesn’t stop, dismount with your bike between you and the dog.

 

 

 

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