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Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safety Tips

Rules of the Road

Hand Signals

Bicycle Safety Tips

Below are some simple bicycle safety tips you can follow to help make your ride to school both safe and fun…

  • Always ride with your hands on the handlebars.
  • Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley or a curb.
  • Cross at intersections.  When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can’t see you coming.
  • Walk you bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
  • Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do.  Never ride against traffic.
  • Use bike lanes or designated bike routes whenever you can.
  • Don’t ride too close to parked cars.  Doors open suddenly.
  • Stop at all stop signs and obey street (red) lights just as cars do.
  • Make eye contact with driver and wait for driver to signal you to go.
  • Ride single file on the street with friends. Minimize conversations and focus your attention on the road.
  • When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left side, and call out “On your left!” so they know that you are coming.
  • Follow the Law – Bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers and need to follow the same traffic laws.
  • Practice riding your bike to and from school with your kids.  Practice on weekends when traffic is low. Practice will help your kids develop more confidence in their riding skills.
  • Leave home in plenty of time. Don’t rush.
  • Wear a HELMET.  If you are under 18 years old, you must wear a helmet; it’s the law.  Parents, you are your kids' role models, please wear your helmets when riding with your kids.
  • Wear bright colored clothes.  It’s very important be as visible as possible.  Wear closed toe shoes to protect your feet.
  • Lock your bicycle in the bike rack.

The San Mateo County Safe Routes to School program funded the development of "Safe Routes to School" Walk and Roll maps for MPCSD schools. These maps show suggested routes for walking or biking to school within a one-mile radius of each campus. Please consider your family's circumstances and your children's abilities when deciding how & whether to commute to school car-free. Funding for this program is made possible by the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County.

Please be SAFE and ENJOY riding your Bike!

Rules of the Road

Ride on the Right

  •  Always ride with the flow of traffic.
  •  Do not ride on the sidewalk.
  •  Allow yourself room to maneuver around roadway hazards.

Yield to traffic in busier lanes

  • Roads with higher traffic volumes should be given right-of-way.
  • Always use signals to indicate your intentions to switch lanes.
  • Look behind you to indicate your desire to move and to make sure that you can.

Yield to traffic in destination lane

  • Traffic in your destination lane has the right of way.
  • Making eye contact with drivers lets them know that you see them.
  • Signal and make your lane change early, before you need turn.

Directional Positioning

  • Position yourself in the right most lane that goes in the direction of your destination.  
  • Ride in the right third of the lane.
  • Avoid being overtaken in narrow lane situations by riding in the right third of the lane.

Speed Positioning

  •  Position yourself relative to the speed of other traffic.
  •  Left most lane is for fastest moving traffic, right most lane for slower traffic.
  • Yield to faster moving vehicles by staying to the right in the lane.

Helmet Fit

A bike helmet is designed to be worn a certain way.  When it is used correctly, it will protect your head!

A helmet should be level on the head, (not tilted up, back, or sideways), with the side and chin straps properly adjusted and fastened securely.  If you wear a helmet every time you ride, you will protect your brain.

  1. Start with the smallest size helmet that fits your head.  It should cover the majority of your forehead so you can see the front edge.  Even without the straps fastened or the pads in place, there should be little movement when you move your head from side to side.
  2. If you need a snugger fit, put in the foam pads that come with the helmet or adjust the strap at the back of the helmet.  Your goal is to have the helmet snug enough that I will not fall off when you bend over.
  3. When adjusted correctly, each ear strap should meet at a point directly below your ear lobe, with no loose play in the straps. Only after these straps are adjusted should you try adjusting the chinstrap.  The chinstrap should be tight enough so the helmet moves when you open your mouth widely. 

Warning: No helmets on playgrounds! In 1999 the first US death involving a bike helmet catching on playground equipment occurred. There have been other near misses. Be sure to teach your children to remove their helmets before using playground equipment or climbing trees.

Hand Signals

Hand signals are like turn signals and brake lights for bikers.  It helps cars and trucks know what you will do next.


Hand Signals

Teaching Kids to Bicycle Safely

One of the best ways for kids to learn how to be safe and responsible bicyclists is for them to ride with their parents.  Parents who bike can be great role models for kids who are developing their own biking skills.  In order to lead by example, however, parents themselves need to be comfortable bicyclists, and the best way to do that is to practice.  Most car trips are less than two miles - an easy distance for even an inexperienced bicyclist - and our perfect climate allows year-round riding.  No excuses!

Bicycle Resources