Bike Commuting Checklist and Bike Safety

Bike Community Checklist

The Week Before

  • Determine your route to work.
    The route you drive to work may not be the same one to bike to work. First, choose roads that have wide outside lanes or paved shoulders. Collector streets (those that are at the half mile mark between major streets) are often a good choice. Second, drive the route during your normal commuting time to determine potential traffic problems. Third, test the route on a weekend to examine the road surface for potential problem intersections and the approximate time it will take you.
  • Inspect your bike.
    Make sure your bicycle is in proper working order. Not only should all the mechanical parts be in good repair (e.g. brakes, tire, gears) but the bicycle should be adjusted properly for seat height, handlebars, etc. If you do not have a helmet, borrow one or buy one. If you will be riding at night, you need and must have a light.

The Day Before

  • Dress for the Occasion.
    Wear a helmet. It's also a good idea to bike in comfortable cycling clothes; either pack a bag with your work clothes, or bring your attire the day before you cycle (so they won't get wrinkled). Keep a "kit" of toilet articles and a towel at work.
  • Pump Up.
    Make sure your tires are properly inflated. If they are low, it will make riding more difficult.

The Day of the Ride

  • Don't cycle on an empty stomach
    You will need energy for your ride, so eat a good breakfast and take along something to eat along your way.
  • Get an early start.
    The first time you bike to work, allow yourself a little more time than you think you will need. If you tested the route on the weekend as suggested you will know the approximate time it takes. BUT remember, rush hour traffic may slow you down.

Safe Bicycling Tips

Bicycles offer direct and convenient travel. However, cyclists must observe proper riding habits for safe journeys. The following presents a few guidelines for safer riding for cyclists and motorists:

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Be predictable and ride in a straight line. Do not weave in and out of parked cars
  • If the lane is wide enough to safely share with cars, ride to the right side. Do not try to share the lane if it is too narrow. Do not ride in broken pavement or debris at the side of the street. Take the center of the lane if necessary.
  • Ride far enough in the lane around parked cars so that you will not collide with opening car doors.
  • When proceeding straight through an intersection with right-turn lanes, move to the lane going straight and allow vehicles to turn right on your right side.
  • When making a left turn, move to the left before completing the turn, just like a motor vehicle. If you do not feel safe doing this, ride straight and cross the street you want to turn onto. At the other side of the street, dismount and turn your bike in your desired direction, then proceed when it is safe and legal to do so.
  • When riding at night, always wear light colored or reflective clothes, and use both