Plan your route

Choose the most bike-friendly route, away from highly traveled roads and intersections. The shorter route is not always the best way; the safest is.

Inspect your bike

  • Ensure that the seat height is fitted to your size by raising or lowering it.
  • Check the tire pressure. Squeeze the tire or push down slightly on the bike to verify adequate tire pressure.
  • Ensure that your brakes work properly. Press the brakes and see if the wheel stops turning.
  • If you are riding at night, make sure you have reflectors and lights.

Wear a helmet

  • A helmet is important safety equipment when riding any bicycle. It reduces the probability of a head injury in case of a crash.
  • Choose an appropriate model and size for your head. Take the time to adjust your helmet correctly. It should not move forward or backward on your head. In order to be comfortable, you should be able to put no more than two fingers in the space between the chinstrap and your skin.
  • Helmets are sold at the UAB Bookstore, the Children’s Hospital gift shop, and at the UAB Campus Recreation Center.

Respect the Road Code

  • Follow the rules of the road by respecting traffic lights and signs.
  • Walk your bike on the sidewalks; they are primarily for pedestrians and should not be ridden on the sidewalk.
  • Ride on cycle paths whenever possible.
  • Respect traffic signals and be a predictable rider.

Be careful and respectful

  • While riding in traffic, keep your distance from other vehicles.
  • Keep 3 feet distance from parked cars. A door may open unexpectedly in the 'door zone'.
  • Make yourself visible and don’t ride too close to the sidewalk, in order to have maneuvering capability and avoid accidents.
  • Keep an eye on pedestrians to predict their intentions; they are more vulnerable than cyclists.
  • When you need to pass another rider, do so on their left-hand side. You may call out your intention to pass (e.g.: "On your left!")
  • Pay attention to obstacles on the road. Potholes, sewer grates and railroad tracks can be dangerous for a cyclist. When crossing a railroad track, do so at a 90º angle in order to avoid sliding.

Be predictable

  • Don’t make sudden turns and stops, and be sure to signal your intentions with proper arm signals.
  • Signal when you intend to stop, slow or turn.
  • Before turning, look backwards on the side you are turning toward, to be sure there is no vehicle coming.
  • Ensure your signal was understood by establishing eye contact with other road users