Bicycling is a popular activity because meets many needs. It can be recreation, exercise or even transportation. However, bicycling can be dangerous.

Almost 800 bicyclists in the United States were killed in traffic collisions in 2017. While many of those collisions were caused by the reckless actions of motorists, there are some steps you can take to help ensure you stay safe on your bike ride.

What traffic laws must I follow when bicycling?

Because bicycles are considered vehicles, bicyclists must obey many of the same rules as motorists must obey. By obeying traffic laws, you can often avoid potential collisions between motorized vehicles or pedestrians who share use of the roads.

When bicycling, you typically must travel on the road in the same direction as motorized traffic. Other traffic laws you must abide by while bicycling include obeying:

  • Traffic signs
  • Traffic signals
  • Lane markings

Are there any rules that are different for bicyclists?

Although you are often expected to behave like a motorist when bicycling, there are a few differences. Some differences between bicycling and driving include:

  • You may bicycle on the shoulder of a highway.
  • You must generally keep to the right when bicycling in a highway lane.
  • You must generally bicycle in a bicycle lane if one is available.
  • You may bicycle two abreast in a highway lane.

Sharing the road with motorized traffic can be dangerous. However, by following the rules of the road, you will be moving in a way that is predictably to motorists and others who share the road. When you behave predictably, you allow drivers more time to react appropriately to your presence and avoid collisions.