Monday, May 17, 2010


(Photo Above: Cyclists, like motorists, need to pay attention to road signs.)

By Darin Wieneke

May is Bicycle Safety Month! As MTN wants you to stay safe, I will be posting some articles this month on safe bicycle practices. Please see below my thoughts in regard to ten of the most important rules of the road. Subsequent posts will focus on avoiding some of the most common bicycle accidents.

While researching these subjects, I ran across a few notable quotes/sayings regarding bicycle safety: "Let trouble pass you by" and "
Here lies the body of Edward Grey, who died, defending his right of way. He was right, dead right, as he pedaled along, but he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong." If you have a bicycle quote you would like to share on MTN, please forward it to me at


1. Always wear a properly fit helmet (photos: not what we had in mind). It should be snug, level, and stable. It is recommended that you wear a helmet approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Snell, or the America Society for Testing Materials (ASTM).

2. Use proper lights and reflectors when riding. Wearing bright clothing is also advisable. Minnesota law prohibits the operation of bicycles at nighttime unless the bicycle or its operator is equipped with a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector of a type approved by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety which is visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet when viewed in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle. See Minnesota Statute Sec. 169.222 for additional requirements.

3. Obey all the same traffic laws and regulations as motorists. Bicyclists have the right to ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted. They also are required to follow the same applicable requirements.

4. Ride in the same direction as traffic. While it is safer to ride single file on most roads, you may ride 2 abreast as long as you are not impeding the normal flow of traffic.

5. Ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of roadway. While there does not seem to be a clear definition of practicable, you should ride as far right as possible, while still being safe from debris, parked cars, and traffic.

6. Obey all traffic stop signs and stop lights.

7. Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to each other. Making eye contact with motorists assists in ensuring that you are seen.

8. Keep well back from moving cars as they might stop suddenly. Also, keep at least 3 feet away from parked motor vehicles in order to avoid colliding with an opening motor vehicle door.

9. Use hand signals to indicate when making turns and changing lanes. Arm signals must be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, unless the arm is needed to control the bicycle, and shall be given while the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn.

10. Be a polite and courteous rider. Be appreciative of gracious motorists and do not negatively comment or make hand gestures in response to motorist actions or provocations.