Bicycle Safety Tips

1) Never ride against traffic. Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. It's also against state law.

2) Always use lights at night. State law requires a white headlight visible from at least 500 feet and a rear reflector or tail light visible from 300 feet. (A bright-red rear light is best.)

3) Avoid road hazards. Watch out for opening car doors, parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, or debris. Always cross railroad tracks at a right angle.

4) Ride in the middle of the lane at busy inter­sec­tions and whenever you are moving the same speed as traffic. Cyclists are allowed, by law, to "take the lane" or occupy the entire lane if they otherwise cannot safely ride in the bike lane, shoulder, or on the right side of the road.

5) Use hand signals to alert and tell motorists what you intend to do.

6) Don't pass on the right. Motorists may not be looking for a bicyclist when turning. Learn to scan the road behind you while riding, either by glancing over your shoulder without swerving or using a mirror.

7) Choose the best of two ways to turn left. Like an auto: Signal, move to the left turn lane, and turn. Like a pedestrian: Ride straight to the far-side crosswalk, and walk your bike across.

Bicycle Safety Tips

8) Use caution when riding on sidewalks, especially when traveling the opposite direction of traffic, as cars entering the roadway are not looking for bikes. Bicycling on sidewalks is legal throughout Austin except in the Downtown core and on the UT section of the Drag.

9) Make eye contact with drivers. Assume other drivers don't see you until you're sure they do.

10) Follow lane markings. Don't turn left from the right lane, and don't go straight in a lane marked "right turn only."

11) Bicycles must be driven like any other vehicles, by law, in observance of traffic signs and signals, if they are to be taken seriously by motorists.

The Austin Bicycle Map

Bicycle Safety Tips

The city Bicycle and Pedestrian Program’s new and improved fifth edition, fall 2007, is now available at It’s downloadable as a complete PDF, detailing east-west and north-south bike routes citywide – color-coded for high, moderate, and low ease of use – plus off-road trails and paths. The 2007 bike map is also available in hard copy at most local bike shops or by mail by sending a check for $2, payable to the city of Austin, to: City of Austin Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, PO Box 1088, Austin, 78767.

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