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Cycling is fun, but it can quickly turn dangerous is you are not careful of your surroundings. Below are ten tips that allow you to have fun, while keeping yourself and your road neighbors safe.

We’re all Citizens of the Road

Along with the right to cycle come responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with all applicable traffic laws and cycling rules. Each state has its own set; be aware of them. Motorists will be much more willing to accept cyclist’s rightful place on the road if cyclists act lawfully and respectfully. Do not run stop signs or red lights or use the wrong side of the street. It is best and safest to ride single file. If you are not blocking traffic and if the laws in your state permit it, there are times it is safe to ride two abreast.

Keep Right

It is generally either illegal or unsafe to ride on a sidewalk or on the road towards oncoming traffic. As a rule, it is best to ride in the direction of traffic, staying as far to the right as is practical. However, make sure there is room to handle emergencies and that you do not ride so close to the right that you run the risk of hitting the curb and being thrown into traffic.

Hop In

If you are traveling at the same speed as other traffic, it may be safer to jump in and ride with traffic; because, this may make you more visible to motorists. Joining traffic is sometimes necessary because the road is simply too narrow for both a bike and a car. It is a particularly good idea to take a lane and join traffic before an intersection to make your presence known—especially for right-turning drivers who may not see you as they start their turn.

Be Hard-Headed

Regardless if you’re going to the corner store or heading out on a marathon ride, always wear a helmet. Make sure it is properly fastened and fitted.

Eye See You!

Make eye contract with drivers whenever possible. This ensures that the motorists see you and helps you assert your rightful place on the road.

Don’t Cycle Crazy

Try to ride consistently and predictably. For instance, at an intersection, do not veer into the crosswalk and then suddenly reappear on the road again. Don’t thread through parked cars. With such erratic behavior, motorists will not be aware of your presence when you try to re-emerge into traffic.

Defense Is Better Than Offense

Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings. Know what is behind you and watch out for what is in front of you. Always be on the lookout for road hazards; sand and gravel, glass, railroad tracks, parked cars, snow and slush can wreak havoc on you and your bike. Sewer grates and cracks in the road can catch your wheel and cause you to be thrown from the bike. Watch for parked cars where people may be opening doors on the driver side of the vehicle without looking.

Be Seen

Make your presence felt. Wear bright color clothing. At night or in inclement weather, it is important to use reflective lights in the front, side and rear that make you visible from all directions.

Know Hand Signals

Emergencies happen. Be prepared. Always make sure you have at least one hand on your handlebars, no matter what. Know and use your hand signals whenever you are changing lanes or making a turn.

Brake It, Brake It Good

Make sure your brakes are always in top-notch condition. Be aware of how weather and road conditions can effect your ability to brake.