Bicycle Safety

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The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has an excellent web page with resources on safe biking practices. The website includes information such as where on the street to ride depending on the situation, crash prevention and protection, and a link to a summary of Wisconsin Statues that pertain to bicycling.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration produces a biking safety tips brochure.

The NHTSA also has an excellent video that provides useful information for a bicycle rider, including tips for selecting a bike and safety information.

Bike Safety Tips

Did you know that in 2010, the State of Wisconsin had nine bicycle fatalities? In 2009, 630 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 44,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States.

A 2006 study showed that using bike helmets can reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent. However, not all bicycle-related injuries and deaths can be addressed by the use of safety equipment alone. Rider actions and reactions — especially obeying traffic laws — play a major role in contributing to injury-free bicycling. Statistics were provided by as of March of 2010.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission give the following safety tips for bicycle riders:

  • Protect your head. Wear a helmet.
  • See and be seen. Wear bright colors or reflective stripes.
  • Avoid biking at night.
  • Stay alert. Look out for obstacles in your path.
  • Go with the flow. Ride with traffic.
  • Check for traffic. Be aware of traffic around you, especially at intersections and driveways.
  • Learn the rules of the road. Obey traffic laws.
  • Assure bicycle readiness. Is your bicycle properly adjusted?
  • Can you stop? Check brakes before riding.
  • Check your wheels. "Quick release" wheels should be securely fastened.

Review these safety tips again this time and reflect on your own bicycling experiences. Most people have experienced or observed a near miss situation where these safety tips were not followed. Remember there is not much to protect you on a bicycle from injury other than following safe practices.

Hand signals on turning and stopping - Indicate your signals in this manner.

  • Left turn - Hand and arm extended horizontally
  • Right turn - hand and arm extended upward
  • Stop and decrease speed - hand and arm extended downward

Motorist passing bicyclist - The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle shall exercise due care, leaving a safe distance, but in no case less than 3 feet clearance until safely passed the overtaken bicycle.

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