Bike Handling Tips- Ride SMART
We encourage all riders use these Five Beginner Riding Tips, and to Ride SMART.
Five Beginner Riding Tips
- Keep your body loose. Your weight should be mostly back on your seat and your arms should be relaxed. If you find yourself with a lot of tension in your arms, adjust so that your core is holding you up instead.
- Give a big starting push. To start your bike, position one pedal in the 2 o’clock position- just over the height of its rotation toward the front wheel. Give this pedal a full push with all your bodyweight to get moving before placing your other foot on the opposite pedal.
- Stop with both brakes. The front brake accounts for about 70% of your braking power. When you’re stopping, gently pull on both your front and back brakes until you stop.
- Scan behind you. This takes a little practice, but before you ever turn or change lanes you should be scanning behind you. This means to glance behind you to make sure there are no upcoming vehicles or bicyclists before you turn, just like you would if you were operating a vehicle.
- Signal your intentions. Hand signals are a vital communication tool, and you should use them as much as possible to show those around you where you are going. Remember though, as you are beginning it is more important to feel safe with your hands on your brakes than it is to signal. Signaling is great, but never mandatory.
Momentary inattention is the number one cause of incidents. Watch for vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians and hazards. Do not wear earbuds or use phones while riding.
Leave enough room in front of you to avoid other riders, vehicles and hazards. Ride outside the door zone, and move off the road or trail when stopping.
ACT SAFELY AND PREDICTABLY
Wear a properly fitted helmet. Make sure you can see and be seen. Ride a straight line and only pass on the left. Be courteous.
RESPECT THE RULES OF THE ROAD
Obey all traffic laws; stop for all red lights, school buses, and at stop signs when there is oncoming traffic (otherwise you can now treat stop signs as yields when the coast is clear). Signal turns whenever safe, ride no more than two abreast (single file is safer) and yield right-of-way when appropriate.
THINK AHEAD AND TALK
Scan ahead and anticipate what others will do. Communicate actions and hazards, tell others when passing and cross railroad tracks at a right angle when possible.