Rules Of The Road

Safety is our main concern.  Helmets are required and must be worn.  Even a simple fall can cause a life threatening head injury. The brain is fragile and often does not heal the way that broken bones can. The damage can stay with you for life.   Most serious injuries from a fall or crash are to the head and most frequently, the forehead.  Properly fitted helmets provide protection. Wear your helmet per manufacturer directions or level with the ground,  just above the eyebrows.

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 Please follow Indiana Bicycle Laws.

  • Please arrive with a properly-maintained bike, one or more water bottles, a spare tube, patch kit, and tools.
  • Always ride in the same direction with traffic, on the right.  This will make you more visible to drivers entering roads or changing lanes, because they will know where to look for possible conflicts. On a one-way street, you may ride on the left as long as you are riding with traffic. Ride in single file when you’re in traffic.
  • How Far to the Right?   Ride at least three feet from the curb or parked vehicles or debris in curb area and in a straight line.  Don't get the door prize!  Ride straight, three feet from parked cars - don't get "doored."
  • Don't swerve in and out around parked vehicles. You could lose your balance and fall into traffic.
  • Do not ride too far to the right:
    • When avoiding parked vehicles or road hazards.
    • When a traffic lane is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side.
    • When making a left turn so that vehicles going straight do not collide into you.
    • To avoid conflicts with right–turning vehicles. 
  • Maintain control of your bicycle.  
  • Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions. DO NOT wear headphones. DO NOT text while riding.

Even if you obey all traffic laws, there is always a risk of being hit by a motorist who is not obeying the laws, or who simply does not see you. 

  • Ride carefully – vehicles waiting at stop signs, in driveways, or in parking spaces may suddenly pull out in front of you.
  • Watch for vehicles that have just passed you and may turn right, as well as vehicles coming the opposite way that may turn left in front of you.  Be prepared to stop or take evasive action.

  • Use hand signals . . . etc. (okay until below)

 

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  • Increase your visibility by wearing light or bright colored clothes, such as yellow or lime green. Red appears black in fading light and is not a good choice for riding in the evening.
  • Mirrors provide opportunities for increased awareness of your surroundings, but use mirrors only as an aid.  Always look over your shoulder to make sure the lane is clear before turning or changing lanes.  Make sure your brakes are in good working order.

Hazards

  • Keep your eyes on the road ahead. Avoid running over potholes, gravel, broken glass, drainage grates,    puddles you can’t see through, or other unsafe road conditions.  Look over your shoulder to avoid swerving suddenly into traffic. When possible, signal before changing lanes.
  • Parked Vehicles - Bicyclists should ride far enough away from parked vehicles to avoid being hit by an opening door.

When to Take the Traffic Lane

  • A bicycle lane is a designated traffic lane for bicyclists, marked by a solid white line, and typically breaking into a dotted line at the corner. A bicycle lane is different from a simple white line showing the edge of the road because it follows specific width requirements and is clearly marked as a bike lane.
  • Many roads do not have designated bicycle traffic lanes, so bicyclists share the traffic lane to the left of the white line.  If there is no shoulder or bicycle lane and the traffic lane is narrow, ride closer to the center of the lane. This will prevent motorists from passing you when there is not enough room. Bicyclists can travel at speeds of 20 mph, or faster. You should also use the traffic lane when you are traveling at the same speed as the traffic around you. This will keep you out of motorists’ blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic.

Obey Traffic Signs and Signals

  • Bicyclists must obey STOP signs and red signal lights. It’s a good idea to stop for yellow lights too – rushing through a yellow light may not leave you enough time to make it across the intersection before the light changes.
  • You will fare better with other road users if you function like a legal vehicle operator, which you are.
  • Be predictable!  Let other users know where you intend to go and maintain an understood course. 

Left Turns

There are two proper methods for making a left turn on a bicycle:

  • Using Traffic Lanes
    As you approach the intersection, look over your left shoulder for traffic. If clear, signal your turn and move over to the left side of the lane, or into the left or center turn lane. Position yourself so that vehicles going straight cannot pass you on your left while making your left-hand turn. Yield to oncoming traffic before turning. If you are riding in a bicycle lane or on a multi-lane road, you need to look and signal each time you change lanes. Never make a left turn from the right side of the road, even if you’re in a bicycle lane.
  • Using Crosswalks
    Approach the intersection staying on the right. Stop and either cross as a pedestrian in the crosswalk, or make a 90 degree left turn and proceed as if you were coming from the right. If there is a signal light, wait for the green light or the WALK signal before crossing. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk

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Narrow lanes

  • Ride in the center of the lane.
  • Keep at least three feet between yourself and passing or parked traffic.

Wide lanes

  • Ride just to the right of the actual traffic line, not alongside the curb.
  • Keep at least three feet between yourself and the curb or from parked vehicles. Motorists should be passing you with at least 3 feet of clearance.
  • Right turning motorists can be a problem, but taking the lane or more of the right portion of the wide curb lane can prevent this.
  • Left turning motorists are the cause of most adult bicyclists’ crashes. Motorists claim not to see the cyclist who is traveling in a straight path in the opposite direction.
  • Lane positioning can be especially important in approaching a downhill intersection. Moving to the center makes you more visible to intersecting and left turning motorists in opposing lanes.
  • Going downhill, your speed is likely to be closer to traffic speeds or posted speed limits. Hugging the curb when there are visual barriers increases your chance to be struck by a bigger vehicle, or of hitting a pedestrian or sidewalk riding bicyclist.
  • Take the lane, be seen and see other traffic better if you are close to traffic speeds
  • Be aware of changing road surfaces, new construction or unusual barriers on the roadway, distracters for both you and other vehicle operators.
  • Leaves can be slippery in the early morning and are a hazard even when slightly damp. Distractions such as dogs, wild animals and even humans can draw attention from the roadway and lead to a crash. Expect them.