Bicycles require routine maintenance to assure proper operation.
- While riding, listen for sounds of rubbing, squeaks and rattles and immediately investigate their sources. Slipping (free wheeling) or difficulty changing gears may mean that gear cable tension is too loose or too tight (multi-speed bikes).
- Check for loose tension on the drive chain and be sure to check your brakes.
- Use a tire gauge every few days. Proper pressure is indicated on the tire sidewall or in your bicycle manual. Check for cracks, cuts, bulges. Remove imbedded stones, nails, glass, etc.
- Adjust seat and handlebars to fit.
- Oil and clean moving parts, keeping oil off rubber. Wipe off excess oil.
- Tighten and/or adjust loose parts. Make sure handle grips are glued or tightly secured to handlebars.
- Where possible, store your bike indoors; moisture will cause rust.
- Keep your bicycle clean by wiping dust away with a soft cloth. Wipe it dry when it gets wet.
Never ride your bicycle without a helmet. Wearing a bicycle helmet is not only smart- it’s required by law if you’re under age 18. Vehicle Code Section 21212 prohibits persons under 18 from riding or being a passenger on a bicycle without wearing helmets meeting specified standards (ANSI or SNELL).
Bicycle helmets can reduce serious head injuries in a crash, but they must fit properly to protect your head. Select the smallest helmet shell size that fits comfortably over your head. Leave two-fingers width between your eyebrows and the front of the helmet. The helmet should be level with the ground when you’re standing upright. If your helmet is tilted toward the back of your head, your forehead will be exposed to injury. The straps on the helmet should be joined just under each ear at the jawbone; and straps should be snug enough that you can’t remove the helmet without releasing the buckle. Keep helmets away from heat and sunlight when not in use. Helmets should be replaced after the impact of an accident or even after several years of wear and tear.
The following recommendations are based on state law, local ordinances, good cycling practice, and common sense. When in doubt as to the correct or legal action or maneuver to make in any given cycling situation, remember that in California every bicyclist riding on a street or highway has all the rights and is subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. Furthermore, experienced bicyclists know that they fare best when they are treated as drivers of vehicles.
Obey Traffic Signs and Signals
Cyclists must drive like motorists if they want to be taken seriously. Doing so is also the safest behavior. When approaching a stop sign or red light, you are required to come to a complete stop (cease forward motion) and proceed only when safe to do so.
Use Hand Signals
Signal to other drivers; your movements affect them. Hand signals tell everyone what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy, and self-protection.
Use “Loop” Vehicle Detectors
Some traffic lights will only be triggered by traffic passing over buried induction “loop” detectors or being in the right position to activate video detectors.
Some intersections have special symbols which indicate the optimal position for your bike to activate the signal; other detectors can be recognized by filled-in cuts in the roadway. Ride over the cut line for best response. If our bike doesn’t trip the signal, wait for a motor vehicle to come up from behind or dismount and cross as a pedestrian.
Watch Your Speed
Observe posted speed limits and obey the basic speed law. Never ride faster than is safe under existing conditions.
Don’t Weave Between Parked Cars
Don’t ride the curb between parked cars. Motorists may not see when you try to move back into traffic.
Follow Lane Markings
Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked “right turn only.” Stay to the left of the right turn only lane if you are going straight.
Choose the Best Way to Turn Left
There are two ways to make a left turn. (1) Like a motorist: Signal, move into the left lane, and turn left. In a left turn only lane, stay to the right of the lane to allow any motorists (2) Like a pedestrian: Ride straight across the far-side crosswalk, dismount, and walk your bike across.
Be Careful When Passing On the Right
Motorists may not look for or see a cyclist passing on the right. Watch for any signs that the motorist might turn into your path.
Respect Pedestrians’ Rights
Pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way. Don’t cross sidewalks via driveways without yielding to pedestrians. Be especially aware of pedestrians with disabilities.
Watch for Cars Pulling Out
Make eye contact with drivers. Assume they don’t see you until they stop.
Scan the Road Behind
Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. A rear-view mirror is a good idea, but don’t rely on it alone in difficult traffic conditions.
Ride in a Straight Line
Ride to the right of faster traffic in a straight line about a car door’s width away from parked cars.